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Why is Search Engine Marketing Important? 7 Reasons in 2024

Why is search engine marketing important

Have you ever wondered how often you actually scroll past the first page of Google? 

Chances are, not a lot. 

With so much of our shopping happening on the internet, not popping up in search results is like being invisible.

Enter search engine marketing (SEM).

What’s SEM and why should you care?

So, why is search engine marketing important? Well, SEM stands for search engine marketing. 

And in plain language, it’s using paid ads to make sure your website shows up at the top when people search for something you offer. 

Think of it as paying for a VIP spot in search results. SEM is like skipping the line. 

It’s a direct way to ensure you’re the first option people see, not something they might stumble upon by chance.

Now, let’s talk about SEM versus SEO (search engine optimisation). 

SEO is the long game. 

It focuses on improving your site’s ranking over time through content, keywords, and other non-paid methods. 

It’s effective, but it’s slow. 

You’re building a solid foundation, but it takes a while to see results.

SEM, on the other hand, is the quick hitter.

It’s about getting seen now. 

While SEO works its magic in the background, SEM can put you right in front of potential customers immediately. 

It’s not about replacing SEO but complementing it. 

SEM gets you noticed fast, which is important in a world where first impressions on the internet can make or break your business.

how does sem work in a nutshell?
How does SEM work in a nutshell?

7 no-brainer reasons to lean into SEM

Here are solid reasons to make SEM your go-to strategy this year.

Reason #1 โ€” you show up where It matters, instantly

With SEM, you’re right there when someone’s looking for what you’ve got. 

It’s not about waiting and hoping they find you. 

You decide the keywords, set up your ad, and boom โ€” you’re the first thing they see. 

This is key because when people are ready to buy or learn, they hit up search engines. 

And being the first option they see can really make a difference. 

It’s like being handed a microphone in a crowded room; suddenly, everyone’s listening to you.

Reason #2 โ€” you get to talk directly to your ideal audience

Because places like Google has 83.49% of the search engine market share worldwide, you can use SEM to zero in on your perfect customer. 

It’s not scattergun advertising; it’s sharpshooter targeting. 

Say you’re selling the latest video game. 

With SEM, you can make sure your ads show up for gamers looking for new releases. 

You can even target by the kind of games they like, what gaming device they use, or if they’re looking for reviews.

This means your ad isn’t just another one they scroll past. 

It’s speaking directly to them, about what they care about right now. 

And you can get really specific, like targeting ads at people who play strategy games and live in a certain area. 

This isn’t just hoping the right people see your ad; it’s making sure they do.

what is split testing and how do you experiment
What is split testing and how do you

Reason #3 โ€” you can experiment very easily (split testing)

One of the coolest parts about SEM is how it turns the whole process of figuring out what works into a kind of game โ€” a really productive one. 

With built-in split testing, platforms like Google Ads let you play around with different versions of your ads to see which ones hit the mark. 

You can tweak headlines, descriptions, and even the visuals without sweating over the details.

The platform does the heavy lifting, rotating your options to find out which combo gets the best response.

Think of it as constant improvement mode. 

Got a hunch that a certain headline might work better? Test it. 

Wondering if a different call to action will drive more clicks? 

Put it up against your current champ and see what happens. 

This isn’t just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks; it’s guided experimentation with near-real-time feedback.

What’s amazing about this is it frees you up to focus on the big picture. 

Instead of getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty of ad management, you’re strategising, coming up with new ideas, and trying them out. 

And because it’s so easy to set up and run these tests, you can be bold with your experiments. 

Try out different messages, different targeting parameters, or even different times of day. 

Each test gives you valuable insights, not just about what works, but why it works. 

This means you’re not just guessing; you’re building a marketing strategy on solid data. 

Plus, the thrill of seeing a new version outperform the old one? 

That’s just icing on the cake.

Reason #4 โ€” it’s budget friendly

Starting with SEM doesn’t have to break the bank.

You can begin with something as simple as $3 or $20 a day, according to Google

Here’s how Google Ads work

This way, you’re not just throwing money out there; you’re carefully testing the waters. 

See which ads perform best, then use what you learn to up your game and your budget gradually.

Yeah, some people say costs are going up, especially in really competitive areas. 

And they’re not wrong. If you’re a lawyer, for example, you might see clicks costing you a pretty penny. 

But here’s the deal: not all clicks are created equal. 

In some businesses, like a local dentist or a lawn care service, clicks might only set you back a few bucks.

If you crunch the numbers and find out that getting a new customer costs you less than what they’ll spend with you over time, you’re winning.

Before diving headfirst into Google Ads, talking things over with someone who knows what theyโ€™re doing can help big time. 

They can help you figure out if your budget’s ready for the keywords you want to target.

Reason #5 โ€” supports your other marketing efforts

SEM isn’t just about selling stuff right off the bat. 

It’s also a powerful tool for the long game, like building your brand and getting people interested in what you have to say. 

You can use SEM to drive traffic to your blog posts, videos, and other content that’s all about adding value, not just making a quick sale.

This approach is especially smart if you’re in a market where trust and education matter. 

Running ads to your content can be a cost-effective way to introduce people to your brand. 

You’re essentially investing in getting people to notice you, learn from you, and start thinking of you as a go-to resource.

Sure, there’s an upfront cost to running these ads, but think of it as investing in your brand’s future. 

By offering high-value content for free, you’re not just spending money; you’re building an audience. 

Over time, this can lead to sales from people who’ve come to trust your brand through the content you’ve shared.

For B2B businesses, this strategy is gold. 

It’s about getting your name out there and staying top of mind, all while providing value. 

You’re not aggressively selling; you’re gently guiding potential customers down the funnel with useful information they appreciate.

So, SEM does more than just push products. It acts as a boon for your overall marketing strategy, making sure your content gets seen by the right people.

local sem vs seo
Local SEM vs SEO

Reason #6 โ€” it drives predictable and consistent local leads

For local businesses, being visible in search results isn’t just nice to have; it’s essential.ย 

Take a local plumber as an example. 

In a city with maybe 50 to 100 other plumbers, standing out is tough. 

If you’re not in the top two or three search results, chances are you’re not getting noticed. 

And if you’re not getting noticed, you’re not getting calls or bookings.

By using Google Ads, you can make sure your business pops up first when someone in your area is looking for the services you offer. 

With a compelling ad and a solid website to back it up, you’re far more likely to turn a searcher into a customer.

Josiah shows you how to write compelling Google Ads ad copy.

Whether it’s dental clinics, law firms, beauty clinics, or lawn care services, those investing in local-based Google Ads are seeing significant returns. 

For many, SEO and Google Ads combined are driving up to 70% of their new business and helping to keep existing customers coming back.

In the competitive arena of local services, relying solely on word of mouth isn’t enough. 

To not just survive but thrive, investing in SEM for local businesses is almost mandatory. 

It ensures a steady flow of leads by making your business the first thing potential customers see. 

And in a world where being seen means everything, SEM is your best bet for drawing in those local leads consistently.

Reason #7 โ€” helps you understand your business’s numbers

One big plus of SEM that doesn’t get enough spotlight is how it helps you get to know your business’s financials better.

Especially when it comes to what you’re spending to get new customers (CAC) and the cost per action (CPA), like getting someone to book an appointment or download something.

how to lower customer acquisition cost cac vs cpa 0
How to lower customer acquisition cost cac vs cpa 0

Knowing these numbers is huge. 

It’s not just about keeping the lights on; it’s to help you build a business that you could, if you wanted to, sell one day. 

No savvy buyer will touch a business that doesn’t have a clear picture of its finances, including predictable revenue and a solid grasp on its acquisition costs.

SEM plays a big role here. 

You see, it’s not just about getting clicks; it’s about understanding what those clicks mean for your business. 

By running ads, you can test out your hunches, see what’s working, and start to figure out a reliable way to turn traffic into sales or leads over time.

This doesn’t happen overnight, by the way. 

But think of it as investing in a deeper understanding of your business. 

The more you know about how much it costs to get a new customer or lead, the better you can plan, spend, and grow.

This insight is gold, not just for day-to-day operations but for the long-term strategy and value of your business.

Making search engine marketing work for you

SEMs can do a lot for many businesses, but it’s not perfect for everyone. 

Each business is different, with its own set of challenges and goals. 

What works great for one might not do the same for another. 

SEM is good because you can try things out and see what happens. 

But this also means you need to think carefully about what you’re doing and make sure it fits your business.

Think of SEM as something to test and learn from. 

Start with it, see how things go, and keep an eye on the results. 

Be ready to change your plan based on what you find out. 

This way of thinking isn’t just for SEM; it’s a smart way to look at all your marketing efforts. 

There’s no one answer that works for every business. 

The key is to try things, see what works, and use what you learn to make better choices.

Josiah is a multi-award-winning digital marketing consultant and former journalist for the Australia Times. He now helps 6-7-figure brands as a Fractional CMO to generate predictable leads and sales growth.โ€‹

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