Search Engine Marketing is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites. This is done by increasing their visibility in search engine results through Pay-Per-Click advertising campaigns. Pay-Per-Click advertising is a system used by Google, and other search engines, that shows listings for your website at the top or sides of results pages. These listings are based on specific search terms that you choose. When a user clicks on one of your paid listings, they are directed to your website and you are charged a fee. If they do not click on your listing, the impression costs nothing.
Google’s search engine controls the lion’s share of the search engine market, so their Pay-Per-Click product, Google Adwords, is often the SEM platform of choice. Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines can be utilized as well, but they offer successively decreasing market shares of search traffic.
Here is a great example of how effective Google Adwords can be:
Let’s say there is a roofing company located in St. Louis, MO. One of its Google Adwords listings is targeting the keyword “New Roof Installation” with a location radius of 25 miles around St. Louis. Although the Cost-Per-Click varies greatly among different keywords, let us assume it is $3 per click for this example. If 100 people in this radius seach for “New Roof Installation,” and click on the Adwords listing, the total cost will be $300. Since each of these people were searching from within 25 miles of St. Louis, it is likely they will reach out to the roofing company for a quote. Even if only one of the 100 potential customers ends up getting a new roof installed through this company, the $300 marketing cost will likely be made back plus much more. This is assuming a 1% lead-to-sale conversion so imagine the Return on Investment (ROI) if the conversion rate is 5-10% or higher!