The learning curve blog

Helpful advice for online course creators, businesses, and entrepreneurs

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Can Help Your Online Course

by | Feb 8, 2013 | Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the term used to describe the efforts that make your website visible when people use sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to find information they are looking for. Paid ads appear at the top and right of the “organic” search results. “Organic” search results are non-paid search engine results, and fall under the realm of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEM is an umbrella term that refers to both paid and non-paid online marketing.

DigitalChalk: Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Can Help Your Online CoursePaid Ads on Search Engines

Paid ads are one of the best ways to make sure your website is visible in a list of search results. With paid ads, you bid on a keyword phrase, and when someone searches using that phrase, your ad appears alongside other companies bidding on the same phrase. The position of your ad depends on the amount of money you bid and the relevance of the phrase as it relates to the information on the page of your website a user will end up on if they click on your ad.

You can determine the phrase to bid on, the amount to bid, the text of the ad,and the web page to send people to if they click on your ad. The biggest advantage to paid ads is that they display immediately, as well as offer an insight into which keywords your potential customers are using to search for your courses. The most popular paid ads for search engines are through a program called Google AdWords, which displays ads on Google and Google’s affiliate websites. We recommend first setting up an ad campaign on Google and to determine which keyword phrases have high traffic volume.

Keyword Research & Targeting

The first part to setting up any ad campaign is keyword research, to discover which phrases people use when searching for your courses. This research will drive which keywords you bid, as well as how you title your website pages.

Google AdWords Keyword Tool is the best, free keyword research tool available. This tool allows you to search for a keyword phrase and responds with the approximate number of times those phrases are searched per month. The higher the search volume, the more commonly the phrase is used by your potential customers.

Paid Ads on other Websites

Many websites offer the ability to advertise on their webpages via a banner. These banners come in different shapes and sizes, and the cost to advertise using this method varies greatly, but is usually based on the number of unique visitors a website receives per month. When using this form of advertising, getting ROI can be difficult. Avoid long-term contracts and any website that doesn’t allow you to run your ads for 3 months or less. Selling courses online is a great way of having an online presence.

Click here to learn more about selling courses with DigitalChalk’s e-commerce integrated online training platform.

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