McClatchy Nov 22, 2023 12:26:00 PM

How SEM and SEO Get Your Business in Customers’ Search Feeds

Customer buying product found in online search

Getting your brand in front of the right audience is crucial to earning customers. Informing people of your offerings is the first step to brand awareness. But to generate leads and convert them to customers, you need to reach them when they're attentive and interested. That's where SEM and SEO can help.

Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) work by getting your brand in customer searches at critical moments when they're interested or ready to purchase. Consider it the dynamic duo of marketing. While SEO focuses on generating organic growth, SEM reinforces the efforts with paid search ads. If you've struggled with how to show up in search results, keep reading for more about SEM and SEO benefits. 

How SEM and SEO Help You Fill Search Feeds

So, what exactly are SEM and SEO? Both marketing strategies help put your brands at the top of search page results. Essentially, they help funnel your potential customers through their buying journey. However, they do it through different approaches. 

SEO is an excellent strategy for lead generation and research. Optimizing your website with relevant keywords, engaging content, and other techniques helps attract an audience naturally or organically.  It is like free advertising, as when your website is optimized, it will rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Why is this important? Consider your last Google search. Chances are you did not scroll down several pages before clicking through to a site but instead chose one of the top results. That's the beauty of SEO. Some of the critical steps in an SEO strategy are:

  • Researching keywords
  • Creating a compelling message
  • Optimizing on-page content
  • Optimizing off-page technical aspects
  • Researching search intent
  • Building links for offsite authority

SEM, also called paid search or pay-per-click (PPC), reaches customers when they're ready to buy and helps usher them to conversion.  It essentially supercharges your SEO efforts by boosting your SERP rankings through paid search ads. Commonly used SEM ad formats are:

  • Display Ads
  • Search Ads
  • Shopping Ads 
  • Video Ads

Target Traffic Using Keywords 

Before choosing the right keywords for your website or your paid ads, you need to conduct some research. You want to select keywords that fit your goals. Think about words used to describe your core offerings that shoppers may use when trying to find your products or services on a search engine. Consider basing keywords around pain points to understand how customers think when they need your problems.  

Negative keywords are another way to refine your list further and get your brand in front of the ideal buyer. For example, say your business sells artificial grass for Easter baskets. Artificial grass may be a keyword that relates to your business, but it also will likely put you in search results for landscaping.  Adding landscaping as a negative keyword can help keep you on the right SERPs. 

Match Ads to Search Intent 

Customer search intent, acquired through intent data, helps you know how to shape ads effectively. Informative search intent data is critical for determining the best keywords for your SEO and bidding on keywords for your PPC ads. Commercial intent data is particularly effective for SEM. It can give you insight into your competitors' strategy as they bid on keywords for ads, and it can also help B2B companies form better ads for a competitive advantage. 

An example of using search intent is choosing your main keyword and then drilling down on related terms. Imagine you have a bakery in Dallas, and wedding cakes are one of the products you want to market. You'll want to conduct research on the terms most used in searching for wedding cakes and drill down to find specific keywords included in the highest number of searches, such as “wedding cakes Dallas area,” “wedding cakes North Texas,” or “wedding cakes DFW area.”

Leverage SEM and SEO Benefits To Boost Your Brand Visibility

SEM and SEO are the answers to how to appear in search results. While they are powerful strategies on their own, the combination increases their effectiveness and can propel your business to the next level. However, these strategies take the right combination of expertise and techniques to make them truly effective. When you are ready to leverage a wealth of experience and expertise combined with proven tools, technology, and techniques for accomplishing marketing goals, McClatchy is the obvious choice. 

McClatchy is the nation's second-largest local media company. We provide results-driven strategies to help our clients reach their marketing goals. Our company stands out by having not only a deep local reach but a wide national one, as well.

Contact us today to see how our team can help you by designing a custom-tailored approach that gets your marketing message to the right audience. 

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