Searching for Better Search Engine Marketing: 5 SEM Commandments

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has made the internet a tool that magnifies the marketing efforts and resources that you use exponentially. With digital marketing, your creativity and efficiency will bring you to the top and help catapult your websites, products, and services to success and profitability. 

Before we talk about how you can make your internet marketing efforts better and more efficient, we have to talk first about what Search Engine Marketing is and the whole gamut of branches and options it has given us.

SEM, PPC, SEO: The Marketing Trinity

Search Engine Marketing or SEM.SEO PPC SEM Marketing

Technically speaking, is marketing your products and services in the digital space through search engines. SEM can be divided into two - Search Engine Optimization or SEO and Pay Per Click or PPC. SEO brings you organic traffic while PPC brings you a more focused paid traffic.

As per Advanced Web Ranking report of 2015, SEM is important since ranking first on Google search results will yield you a 34.36% click through rate. This means that around 34% of people who searched for the keywords will certainly click the link and go to your website. For mobile users, the clickthrough rate is 31.35%. For every 1,000 searches, you will have around 340 views if you are in first place on the first page of Google Search Results. This is for generic keywords. For the more specific keywords and niche searches, the clickthrough rate is much higher.


Though SEO is free because you do not have to spend extra dollars, it takes a lot of time, effort, skill, and content in order for it to give results. SEO can be done online by optimizing keywords and off-site techniques like link-building.


This one is a paid marketing method where you pay the blogs or sites where you receive clicks on your advertisements. This means efficient marketing dollars are at work since websites are paid only if they manage to redirect the online viewers to your website. This is a great way to build authority for your niche since you will be connected with websites that are related to your industry.

Due to the fact that more people are more familiar with SEO rather than PPC and SEM, SEO has evolved in its own category while SEM and PPC became synonymous, while PPC is just part of SEM. That does not mean that one kind of SEM is better than the other; in fact, both should be applied if you want your website to be really successful. PPC can help jumpstart a fledgling website and have its number of views shoot upward, and SEO is a great source of slow and steady growth.

The 5 SEM Commandments

Read on and learn what every website (and business) owner you should know about SEM and how you can leverage the competition. 

1. You shall write worthwhile and relevant content. Content is king, always and forever. SEO SEM PPC

SEM is like a seesaw; if you have much weight in the form of creative and original content, your views will go up. However, if your content is light, your cash balance and profitability will go down. That is why the very first step, even before the 10 commandments, for great Search Engine Marketing results is to have good content. For instance, What is the best Content-Length for SEO is a must read and 7 tips for building an effective Content Marketing Strategy is a required reading to grasp what separates good content from the bad ones.

Once you have mastered the art and science of making great and viral content, then you proceed with a more specific and focused marketing attack. This is because no matter how great your content is - if no one is reading it, it may as well not exist. And when we say no one is reading your content, we specifically mean that the person who is supposed to be your audience is not reading it. This might be because of incorrect keyword tagging or inadequate content links.

Lastly, you might have been penalized for the quality of your content. What we mean by this is that your keyword density might be too much (around 2 to 3% is recommended) or your content does not score well with its readability (for example, sentences that start with the same word or a lot of word repetitions).


2. You shall wrap up your content nicely. The packaging is important; URL and keywords should be relevant.

You may now have the best content that functions both as an informational article as well as great ad copywriting. However, upon investigation, you find out that the clickthrough rate is not worth your time. This is because of the way your content is wrapped. 

By packaging, we mean the way your website presents and organizes the:

  • Title 
  • Keywords
  • Long-tail derivatives of your keywords
  • The quality of your landing page
  • Relevance of content to keywords and title
  • Meta description
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Authority links to and from your site
  • Historical performance of your website, i.e., age, security and number of visitors

Depending on your CMS (Content Management System) and your hosting capabilities and restrictions, you may be constrained. For instance, having slow loading pages will hurt you, whether it be through the usual SEO or even through PPC. Your plugins can also affect your website, as well as an outdated Javascript application. Email listings are a very profitable way to monetize your website, but can be flagged as suspicious if your site is still new and have low authority rankings. It is advised to have an email listing when you reach a sizeable monthly viewers statistic.

If you notice from the packaging factors listed above, these are all about how relevant your article and content is. Whether you use both SEO and PPC, you will benefit greatly if your theme, content, style, and presentation are all related to one central idea.


3. You shall make your content full of movement and color; add videos and images.

Google is not the only big fish in the big sea of digital space and marketing. YouTube plays a very important role in diverting traffic. Strother Communications Group found out that having a video on your website’s page, especially the landing page, raises your chance of ranking higher in Google Search results.

This is very relevant since more than ¾ of the people who use search engines stay only on the first page, as per HubSpot. 75% of those Google searches only stay on the first page, which makes a higher ranking immensely useful and even necessary if you want to be profitable.

Google gets more than 100 billion searches in one month. While that sounds like a lot, if you compartmentalize the searches, only a few millions will go up with broad searches. Taking advantage of YouTube will give you not only better authority but also doubles your source of viewer channels. Rather than just relying on Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines, putting a link on your YouTube videos improves both the search ranking of your video as well as the authority and trust for your webpage.

Adding pictures also improves your ranking, especially if the pictures you add also carry with it not only a link but also a meta description and tag. This means that if the keyword or tag of your image or picture is searched, they will also lead to your website as well. This also improves your standing. 

Images also give your readers a mental break from the text, which also motivates them to remain on your website. The longer a reader stays on your website, the more trusted your website becomes.


4. You shall improve your quality score by writing and marketing smarter and not harder.

Quality score is an important metric, especially for SEM/ Pay-Per-Click marketing models, since your advertising is immensely impacted by your quality score. The better your quality score, the lower will be your cost to pay for every click that you receive. Also, your website will be ranked even higher if you successfully increased your quality score. This is most especially true if you use Google AdSense.

Quality score goes in a 10-point ranking, with 10 as the highest and 1 as the lowest. 5 is the standard, which means that you pay the average and your rank is dependent on your content and presentation. If you have a quality score of 6, your cost per click becomes lower while you get a small boost to your ranking in ad searches. Conversely, if you have a lower score, you will get a small demerit to your ranking while you will have to shell out more for every successful click.

If you have a quality score of 10, you will get around a 50% discount. That is a very sizeable chunk of expenses saved that you can use to either increase your ad frequency or improve your website. On the other hand, a quality score of 1 will penalize you with a cost that is 400% of the average. If the industry average is $1 per click, a quality score of 10, will give you a cost of $.50 per click while a quality score of 1 will cost you around $4 per click.

You can get a higher quality score by making your keywords relate to the target keyword as much as possible but not an exact match. This is because the target keyword has a lot of competition. You can also rank higher by taking out negative expressions and other terms deemed negative by Google. 


5. You shall be dynamic with your writing and advertising.

By dynamic, we mean both being very active and full of initiative with your marketing and at the same time, something more technical.

Dynamic writing and advertising mean that there is movement, by both you and the reader. This can be done best with having an interactive interface. Google and other search engines love websites that make people stay longer on a page. What better way than to make your website more valuable by adding a personal touch by having a comments page, or a forum? You can also add interactive applications like a chat box.

Now let us talk about Dynamic Search Engine Marketing. It is something very simple and straightforward but not a lot of webmasters and marketers do it. 

SEO and PPC experts call this the DKI, which is Dynamic Keyword Insertion. This means that for the ad that you are bidding for, you should put your target keyword in the ad itself. This is both for the content and the code of the ad.

An Ad “code” usually looks like this:


Display URL:

Description Line 1:

Description Line 2:

In the headline, you insert the keyword. For instance, if the keyword is insurance, you write in the headlines “Buy Insurance” and then fill out the rest. This is the template for you pass to Google Ads, so to speak, so make your ads, both content and code, relevant to the keyword.

The Golden Rule: Use Both SEO and PPC

Do you know that 65% of those who clicked on a search result did not know that they clicked an ad? By using good on-site SEO and an effective PPC campaign and strategy, you will get an explosive growth, both in incoming traffic as well as the conversion of those viewers into loyal customers and site visitors. In fact, doing SEO improves your PPC ranking and vice versa.

That is why it is imperative for your site’s profitability and survival to partner with a digital marketing expert, and partnering with SMILE media can give you the marketing results you are looking for. Being one of the best Boston creative agencies, SMILE media can give you an effective content marketing strategy, expert execution, as well as concrete and quantifiable results. Contact us and let us talk about what we can do to help you get the readers and views that you deserve.

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Lisa Leslie
A writer by nature, Lisa has a way with words that captures her readers' attention and drives them to action. She has intuitive writing and editing skills, in addition to 10+ years of experience in traditional, digital and social media marketing. When she's not writing, you'll find her enjoying the outdoors with her family.

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