Making Sense of it All: Search Engine Marketing 101

Planning-Google-Adwords-CampaignsTo be successful in your B2B online marketing, you should understand what search engine marketing is.

Usually referred to as “search marketing” or shortened as “SEM”, search engine marketing refers to the process of making your website get traffic from Google and other search engines.

Search marketing covers two main areas:

i) Gaining traffic through free methods (organic traffic)

ii) Gaining traffic through paid methods (paid per click)

Common Search Marketing Terminologies

Before we go on, it’s important to understand some common terminologies used in search marketing.

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The process of getting your website ranked high on search engines using various techniques.
  • Keywords. The words or phrases that your audience types in search engines when looking for your business, products or services.
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click). A form of paid online marketing for your website where you pay for every click your ad gets.
  • CPC (Cost-Per-Click). The amount you will pay to get your PPC ad shown to a user who types a particular keyword you are targeting.
  • Organic listings. Website ranking results based on SEO.
  • Paid search listings. Website ranking results based on PPC.

Components of Search Engine Marketing

There are two main components of SEM. These are SEO and PPC.


This is the main method of getting free traffic to your website. SEO refers to:

  • Working to improve the visibility and popularity of your website to increase the likelihood of it being shared on social media sites and getting linked to by other websites.
  • Providing content that your audience cares about to educate or entertain them and in turn make them want to do business with you.
  • Optimizing your website to improve its ranking in the free (organic) search engine ranking results.


PPC refers to paid ways of getting traffic to your website. The most common PPC technique is:

  • Running paid campaigns on PPC networks like Google Adwords, Yahoo Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, etc. to get your website or information in front of a targeted audience.

As you can see, SEO includes techniques that will get free traffic to your website. On the other hand, PPC involves using paid techniques to get traffic to your website.

Benefits of Search Engine Marketing

All SEM efforts are geared towards driving traffic, generating more leads and closing sales for your business. However, you should know the pros and cons of both SEO and PPC to decide which technique(s) will lead to a better return on investment (ROI) for your business.

Benefits of Search Engine Optimization

i) Improved SEO Rankings. With improved rankings, your website will get more visitors that you can convert to leads and customers.

ii) Brand awareness. When your website is ranking high on search engines for your target industry keywords, visitors perceive it as an authority. This can have a positive impact on your sales.

iii) High value at low cost. SEO has long-term benefits for your business. With a strong SEO strategy, your website can generate traffic and leads for a long time. Best of all, the traffic is free.

iv) Increased sales and revenues. SEO helps to increase the number of visitors to your website. You can capture the leads and convert them to realize more sales.

Downsides of SEO

i) Depending on competition in your industry, it may take a long time for your website to rank high on search engines for various keywords using SEO.

ii) SEO techniques like link building, blogger outreach, and content creation are repetitive and time consuming.

Benefits of PPC Marketing

i) Excellent ROI. Compared to traditional forms of advertising such as print and TV ads, PPC provides an excellent ROI. You can get your website in front of targeted visitors for cents for a click.

ii) 100% targeted traffic. Unlike traditional advertising, PPC enables you to get your message to people that are interested in the product or service you are offering.

iii) Instant Results. You can get traffic and sales immediately a visitor clicks your ad and lands on your offer.

iv) Measurability. You can test various aspects of your PPC campaign, including your ad copy and target keywords, to maximize your conversions.

Downsides of PPC

i) Some competitive keywords have high CPC, sometimes reaching over $100 per click.

ii) Improper targeting can deplete your PPC budget and lead to losses.

Get Search Engine Marketing Right

Before you start any search engine marketing campaign, you should understand your users and give them what they want. Your SEO and PPC efforts should be geared at providing the information that your prospects want.

Doing keyword research and analysis is important to determine the intent of various visitors. Also, providing visitors with a good experience on your website is crucial to generating leads and closing sales.

Share this: