From PPC to SEO: A Comprehensive Guide to Search Engine Marketing Types

Businesses that want to excel despite unprecedented competition levels need to have an SEM strategy that incorporates different types of search engine marketing.

3 mins to read

Search engine marketing is a crucial brand awareness and business growth tool for organizations of all kinds. More than 2.7 million people around the world shop online, and 56% of these consumers consider search results when making a purchase decision. 

In 2023, e-commerce accounted for more than 19% of retail sales worldwide, and that number is only projected to grow.

It’s as simple as this: Businesses that want to excel despite unprecedented competition levels need to have an SEM strategy that incorporates different types of search engine marketing. But what types of search marketing work best for your audience? 

This guide is designed to help you understand the different types of search engine marketing and make the best online marketing decisions for your business.

What Is Search Engine Marketing?

Search engine marketing is a digital marketing strategy that aims to increase your brand’s visibility in online search results. SEM placements can be paid, such as using Google ads, or organic, which means they show up in regular search results based on a search engine optimization strategy.

The top three search results get more than half of all clicks. This provides businesses with a massive opportunity to increase their click-through rate (CTR) and market share using paid ads and organic search strategies.

How Many Types of Search Engine Marketing Are There?

There are three main types of search engine marketing: pay-per-click ads (PPC), organic search engine optimization (SEO), and local SEO. Advertisements within these categories vary in their display, content, fee, audience targeting capabilities, and distribution channels. 

Different Types of Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

While search engine marketing can be divided across three main categories, each category contains its own types of SEM. Here are some of the most common types of SEM within each bucket.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC)

PPC is a form of digital marketing where the advertiser pays a fee each time one of its ads is clicked. This way, you’re only paying for ads that lead to targeted traffic to your website or landing page – not just for the ad to appear in search results.

Types of PPC include the following:

  • Paid search ads: These ads enable your content to appear towards the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for queries that use your target keywords. These are commonly Google ads and include only short text and a link with no visuals.
  • Display ads: These ads appear on Google’s partner sites that are relevant to your business or target audience. These ads often contain an image and short accompanying text and are great for building brand awareness.
  • Social media ads: Social ads take different forms to advertise your business across varying social media channels. Popular social channels for social media marketing include Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, Instagram ads, and TikTok ads. Each platform targets different demographics and has its own advertisement and targeting options.
  • Video ads: As the name suggests, video ads use video content to deliver targeted ads for your business. Video ads may appear on social media channels or within video platforms like YouTube. They may interrupt videos that users are already watching or appear as users scroll through their feeds, stories, or reels. They may be skippable or non-skippable.
  • In-app ads: These ads appear while you’re using a mobile app. In-app ads may be static ads with an image and limited text or video ads. In-app ads are most commonly used to advertise other apps that are similar to the one a person is using.
  • Shopping ads: If you’re a retailer, shopping ads match a searcher’s intent to your product catalog to display your most relevant items. Google shopping ads include a title, image, price, and store name. This can generate better-qualified leads.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization uses keyword and technical strategies to optimize your website to better meet search engine criteria. This increases the likelihood that Google and other search engines will deem your content as relevant and high-quality for answering certain queries.

There are three main types of SEO:

  • On-page SEO, which refers to optimizing web pages and their content to appeal to both search engines and human searchers. This includes updating site content, using title tags and meta descriptions, and optimizing images.
  • Off-page SEO, which uses activities outside of your website to increase your search engine rankings. This may include building backlinks and increasing social media engagement.
  • Technical SEO, which focuses on the back end of your site to improve your user experience. This includes optimizing your site’s speed, architecture, structured data, mobile-friendliness. 

Local SEO

Local SEO is the process of optimizing your digital presence to attract local traffic and visibility. This type of SEO is especially important for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that have brick-and-mortar locations or that only offer services to a specific area. 

Considering more than three-fourths of consumers use Google when looking for local business information, local SEO is imperative for beating out local competitors. Businesses can optimize their local search results by completing their Google My Business profile and creating locally relevant content.

Alan and Company: Specialized Digital Marketing for SMBs

Alan and Co. Marketing is a digital marketing agency in the U.S. that specializes in marketing for drug rehabs and marketing SMBs. We excel in drug rehab SEO, agency social media marketing, and general search marking tactics that work.

Schedule a free consultation to start getting the search engine visibility your business needs. 

April 25, 2024

Jackie Rosu


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