A Productive Rant About Search Engine Marketing

by Balaji Venkatesan
Published: Last Updated on

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is becoming a widely used strategy to increase brand awareness and expand business opportunities. Business owners and digital marketers alike are flocking to SEM while trying to improve brands’ visibility on google and other search engine results pages (SERPs). Que: A productive rant about Search Engine Marketing.

SEM involves promoting your business on SERPs through paid advertisements. These ads appear on users’ results pages when they make searches using keywords you bid on. Although SEM is becoming more popular, very few people make use of this strategy effectively. 

Not conducting sufficient research and using poor or futile metrics while analysing data are some of the most common mistakes made with SEM. This leads to errors in identifying keywords and a lot of unnecessary spending. These factors make your SEM campaign costlier than it needs to be.

SEM is a powerful device that complements other digital marketing well, if harnessed appropriately. If you’re thinking about creating an SEM campaign for your business, then keep these points in mind.

SEM Jargon

Before we look at how you can make the best use of SEM, it’s good to go over some of its recurring terminology. You’ll see these terms and phrases being used constantly, so you need to be familiar with what they mean.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC) refers to a form of advertising where your business incurs a cost every time your ads are clicked online. PPC is the most common form of advertisements on SERPs. This is why you people use the term PPC ads interchangeably with SEM ads. 


Cost-Per-Click (CPC) is the price you agree to pay each time your ad is clicked. Most publishers like google, bing and other tier one search engines use CPC as a metric to auction ad space. When two or more businesses bid on the same keyword, the one with the highest CPC bid takes top priority. 


Cost-Per-1000-impressions (CPM) is a metric similar to CPC that some publishers use to determine the amount payable to them. There is one fundamental difference between CPC and CPM. In CPC, you are only charged if a user clicks on your ad. On the other hand, CPM ads are charged based on the number of times they are displayed in users’ search results.


Click-Through-Rate (CTR) indicates the fraction of users who have clicked on your ad over the number of times it has been viewed. In the language of SEM, it is the ratio between the clicks your ad receives and impressions it makes. CTR is often used as a means of computing the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns.


Real-Time-Bidding (RTB) is an automated process through which you secure ad space on google and many other online platforms. Every time a user makes a search, RTB ensues and determines how to distribute display spaces on SERPs among bidders of those particular keywords.

Using SEM wisely

SEM is one of the fastest ways to improve your business’ visibility on google and other search engines. When it comes to improving brand awareness, SEM tends to show quicker results than search engine optimization (SEO). 

A lesser known fact about SEM is that it can be used to conduct market research on your products or services. By using A/B testing and analyzing your CTR, you can determine consumer preferences. You can then streamline your SEM costs by promoting the most popular products and services among their relevant audiences only. 

Making the most of SEM

When it comes to SEM, you need a sound plan to ensure that you succeed. Simply running a few ads without a coherent strategy won’t help you get desirable results. It could also lead to a lot of unnecessary spending. So make the most of your SEM campaigns by following these few steps. Are you ready for a productive rant about Search Engine Marketing?

1. Identify your business’ suitability for SEM

The first question you need to ask is how much you stand to gain from investing in SEM. Will it have a substantial return on investment (ROI) to justify its costs? The costs you incur on running an SEM campaign is relative to the opportunities it brings in. If you stand to make more money on conversions than it costs you to run ads, then your business will definitely reap the benefits of SEM.

2. Conduct sufficient research

Before you create and execute an SEM campaign, make sure you’ve done sufficient research to justify your choices. Conducting an insufficient amount of research can lead to poor decision making, shabby execution and overspending. Apart from this, identifying relevant keywords and defining your target audience can be next to impossible without enough data to guide you. 

3. Define appropriate metrics to gauge success

Next, you need to understand if your SEM campaign is successful or not. For this you need to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to your business. Whether you are using a single indicator or multiple metrics, define goals for each of them and see how you fare over time. This will help you identify gaps in your strategy. 

4. Track your results and refine your campaign

When it comes to SEM, tracking your outputs at each stage is the best way to streamline costs. It is also an important part of fixing gaps that you identify in your strategy. Tracking KPIs and analyzing results form an integral part of the SEM process. Paying close attention to detail will help you refine your SEM campaign and stand apart from your competitors. 

5. Use SEM tools available

As your business expands, you need to make the most of software available to optimize your SEM efforts. From keyword research to tracking and analyzing KPIs, several SEM tools have emerged to make these processes more efficient and effective. 

6. Budget your expenses thoroughly

Budget all your expenses to ensure that the costs you incur don’t get out of control. Take into account all expenses related to creating and maintaining your ads, in addition to CPC (or CPM). These include the costs of conducting research, developing copy and purchasing software for analytics. If you don’t have a simple landing page or a mobile friendly site, you should set aside some money to get this done. Both these factors significantly boost the effectiveness of your SEM campaign.


One question that a lot of businesses ask is, ‘Is SEM worth the expenditure?’. The short answer is, yes. SEM is the most efficient way to expand your business’s reach. An effective SEM strategy can improve your brand awareness, drive up your traffic and boost your conversions. Use these tips to make the most out of running an SEM campaign for your business. 

Would you say that this was a productive rant about Search Engine Marketing?


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