The Pros and Cons of Search Engine Marketing

Pros and Cons of Search Engine Optimization

Google’s overwhelming share of the search engine marketplace, along with the share that Bing and Yahoo! have, represents the majority of the web searches that any internet marketer need to be concerned with.  Today, there are two ways that you can drive traffic to your website by using the search engines – natural or organic (unpaid) and paid search options such as PPC (pay-per-click) advertising or paid search engine marketing (SEM).

What is Paid SEM?

The process of driving traffic to your website by purchasing search engine advertisements is known as search engine marketing or SEM.  It is also known as “paid searches” and referred to as cost-per-click (CPC) or pay-per-click (PPC).  The search engine rankings along with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become the center of any brand’s online presence and visibility.  So it follows then that the expansion of your client or customer base relies heavily on the online visibility you maintain on the web.

As a result, SEM has become extremely popular with internet marketers and other online entrepreneurs while serving as an integral component to a company’s internet marketing strategies.  Paid searches come in a variety of forms including:

  • ads on the search engines
  • ads within webpage context
  • social media website ads

For the purposes of this content, we are focusing on the first type above as a more related comparison and so the information provided is more relevant to the issue at hand.  But paid SEM goes beyond this and there are other aspects and elements to be aware of.

To use Paid SEM or not to use it

Your decision to incorporate paid SEM relies on whether or not it is right for your type of business.  The best way to decide is by looking at the pros and cons of this type of marketing before making your decision.

The Pros

Cost control – by establishing a payment set-up, you can establish a budget and set limits on your daily spending.  This way, you won’t overextend yourself and exceed your budget.  You can also manage the bids on keywords and target those that provide a higher ROI.

Direct return on investment – there is tons of data and statistics regarding paid SEM.  By setting up conversion goals especially at eCommerce websites you can link your marketing dollars directly to your return on investment.

Near-instant website traffic – if you’re looking for immediate to your ads, paid SEM ad placement is the way to go.  As soon as you have established your campaign, you should be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you start receiving visitor traffic.

Targeting options – there is an abundant number of targeting options available where paid SEM is concerned and includes location, network targeting, and placement.  You can make every dollar you invest count by controlling the audience that sees your advertisements.

The Cons

Managing campaigns is too complex and labor intensive – in order for any paid SEM campaign to be profitable, there are a lot of optimization strategies, as well as setting and targeting that must be done.  A lot of expertise and time is required to do this as well as the organization and strategizing that is required.

The competition – over time, we have seen the costs involved with paid SEM steadily increase because of the ever-increasing amount of competition in the search engine marketplace.  Those companies that have lavish advertising budgets and sufficient manpower have taken over the dominant advertising positions because of the intense competition that characterizes this type of marketing.

On a closing note, it is extremely important that you consider the pros and cons of natural or organic search marketing as well since paid SEM is not for every business.

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