SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and PPC (Pay-per-Click)

When it comes to searching on the internet there are two kinds of search, paid search and organic search. In my previous post I delved into organic search and how it’s possible to get towards the top of Google search results without paying anything. However, it’s difficult for websites to get to the top of a search results page without paying money and bidding against other competitors in the same industry who are seeking customers as well. For example, when I searched for black sandals using Chrome this is what came up. The top 3 results that pop up are all paid advertisement, which is indicated by the yellow Ad tag. Also, the images and links to shoes on the right are also paid or sponsored in order to be at the the top of the page. The first non-paid advertisement in my search query is the Nordstrom’s shoe site.


On Google, a business must use Google AdWords in order to advertise and get their site to the top of the search results.

As a business, why should you utilize Google AdWords?

Google AdWords allows your business to reach potential customers at the precise moment when they’re searching for what you offer, which increases the chance of the customer making a purchase. Also, your business is able to tailor where and when your ad is displayed. You can specify which geographic area your ad is displayed in order to target where it’s most relevant. Your business is able to control the budget for the cost per click bidding and you only pay Google when someone clicks on your ad, not when it appears in the search results. Your business is also able to receive an analytic report of how your ad is doing on Google so you can assess whether to increase or decrease the amount you’re spending on displaying the ad.

In Google AdWords, your business will chose keywords or phrases that pertain to your site and that people would most likely type to find your site. This is beneficial to smaller businesses because they can increase their rank in search results through PPC, pay-per-click, and compete with other businesses who have developed a stronger organic search over time.

Here’s a link to a great video, Insights of the Google AdWords Auction by the Chief Economist at Google and details the bidding process and how the Quality Score is determined for a specific website. A website’s Ad Rank is comprised of both the bid presented by the business and the quality score they’ve received from Google, based on their content and their organic search popularity. When businesses utilize Google AdWords, it generates a “Search Terms” report that shows all keywords and phrases users have searched for where your ad has been displayed. This report is extremely beneficial to business decisions on SEM (search engine marketing) and PPC (pay-per-click).

When developing a PPC, pay-per-click, campaign it’s essential that your keyword list is:

  • Relevant – Essentially, the keyword searched for should match the content on your website and what your business offers.
  • Exhaustive – Include not only the most frequently searched keywords, but also the long-tail searches. Long-tail keywords searches are more specific and contain longer phrases that are searched for.
  • Expansive – Constantly expand your PPC campaign and adjust your keyword list so it’s adaptive to the ever changing needs of your customers.

Here’s an example from Hubspot and illustrates how a potential PPC campaign is established in regards to keywords:


Some businesses might think that just because they have good organic search results they don’t need to utilize PPC. However this is a bad assumption for four main reasons:

1. Organic rankings are volatile and are ever changing

2. If you have good organic search results adding PPC will double your visibility

3. PPC will increase your click-through rates

4. PPC increases the number of conversions your business will have

As a business, you should always try to get more visibility. Even if you are currently at the top of a search result, that doesn’t mean that your rank won’t change in a week. Here’s an example where Marc Jacobs has used PPC and organic search to ensure that their company website is the first result to appear and their competitors don’t appear first, which could potentially happen if competitors bought specific keywords pertinent to the brand, Marc Jacobs.

Capture 2Ultimately, if a business can successfully combine the SEO from both PPC and organic results they will be able to optimize their visibility and increase their conversions.

Until next time,



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