Why SEM is More Than a Buzzword

Do you want to achieve maximum exposure to your website?

SEMThat’s the goal of Search Engine Marketing or SEM. There are a variety of different measures you can take to ensure that the maximum number of relevant individuals are finding your dealership.


Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing your website with the purpose of getting free traffic from search engines. The best way to get free traffic is to show up first in search results. To break through the clutter, search engine bots must believe your website provides the most relevant content out there. When a customer searches for a keyword such as “car dealership in Norfolk”, they are looking for a website that provides quality content, consistent website performance, and provides an user-friendly interface.


Pay per click, or PPC, is essentially paying to direct traffic to your website. To do this, first you- or your marketing agency- selects a keyword such as “car dealership in Norfolk”, and bids for placement. Paid ads are placed in a separate category from organic listings and are emphasized or bumped up in the rankings. Often, the challenge is selecting the right keywords for your target market. Whenever a customer clicks on a paid advertisement, your dealership pays a set fee. While “cars” might seem like a good search term, it is very difficult to receive placement because of the competition. Customize your keywords to your locality; a greater percentage of local searches lead to purchase than non-local searches.

SEM in numbers

  • targetLeads generated through SEO close at around 14.6% while leads form other channels close at an average of 1.7% –HubSpot
  • Search ads drove an average increase of 6.6 percentage points in top-of-mind awareness, from 8.2% to 14.8%- a lift of 80%. –Google/Ipsos MediaCT
  • 85% of retailers surveyed said search marketing was the most effective customer acquisition tactic –Shop.org/Forrester Research

While SEM has become a buzzword, it is an important component of your digital marketing strategy. Spend time researching best practices and consult with a marketing specialist so that you are able to capture all customers in the market.

How are you using SEM within your dealership?