Brands need a strategy that uses paid SEM as well as organic SEO to establish authority and create a lasting impression with a curated user experience.
Some companies still hesitate to invest in search engine marketing under the impression that paid ads don’t have an impact on purchasing behavior.
After all, why pay for traffic when you can earn it with a well-executed SEO strategy, the thinking goes.
This view, however, is short-sighted. The value of SEM goes beyond establishing and fueling traffic, leads and conversions. Even more important than the straightforward return on investment, SEM can serve as a valuable branding tool that can make your company and your products be seen as a leader in your industry.
PPC advertising should be seen as a launching point for your business to interact with search engine users. Since paid search ads are the first thing people encounter when they search, PPC ads are an excellent opportunity to establish a positive brand impression.
The most effective search marketing strategy is one that includes both paid SEM as well as organic SEO, according to a Clutch analysis of survey results on the reasons people click on paid search ads. PPC often serves as an effective complement to SEO services by providing analytics that your business can use to inform its long-term search marketing strategy.
Here the following branding benefits that accompany an effective search marketing strategy.
1. Establish brand awareness and authority
People respond to search engine results that are the most relevant to them.
One-third of people (33%) click on a paid search ad because it directly responds to their search query, according to the Clutch survey, while more than one quarter clicked on an ad because it mentioned a brand they were familiar with.
The survey finds that more than three-quarters of users – 77% — are able to distinguish search ads from organic search results. As such, the ads that businesses create need to be relevant to search queries. If not, people will ignore them
Businesses can establish themselves as reliable brands to potential customers if they have ads that answer people’s search queries. The benefits of helpful ads can include improving their brand awareness and earning high-quality site traffic.
By establishing the top spot on search engine results pages with paid search listings, you send a clear signal that your company is relevant to the search.
This is particularly important for reaching mobile users, as phones often display only paid ads above the fold on the screen, meaning users have to scroll down to reach organic listings.
As users increasingly move to mobile to conduct search, the value of establishing an initial impression will increase.
2. Create a lasting brand impression
Consistent appearance across SERPs of similar topics creates the impression that your company is a comprehensive resource about a topic, and more broadly, in your industry.
For example, if your company sells used auto-parts, the best way to establish a lasting brand impression is to appear in search results for all terms related to your business, rather than just exact match phrases, in this case “used auto parts.”
To achieve this, your company should conduct research to determine natural variants of your company’s core keywords. Through this process, you can discover that terms such as “used car parts” also attract a solid number of monthly searches.
If people are searching around for a provider, they may use different terms to find exactly what they are looking for. If your company is able to appear for each term they use, you create an impression that you are a legitimate resource for their needs.
The brand authority you develop through your SEM strategy also can complement your business’ organic thought leadership services, for example, your content marketing.
3. Create a highly curated user experience
PPC ads also allow your company to tailor people’s experience with your brand by directing them to curated pages on your site.
This is especially true when you couple a paid campaign with dedicated landing pages.
These pages provide an opportunity for your business to expand on the message you convey through your search ads and provide additional information about your company, and explain your core value proposition.
People who conduct a search about a company or service express some degree of purchasing intent. Your business can capture and extend that intent through search ads targeted to engage search audiences and corresponding web pages designed to elaborate on your company’s offerings and value.
Use SEM to support your company’s branding
A well thought-out and executed search engine marketing strategy allows your business to present itself to potential customers in the best light possible.
Specifically, it allows you to develop and build brand authority for your business by providing relevant content for search users who are interested in your company or its industry.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.