10 Best Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Agencies in 2022

If you’re looking to improve your online presence, increasing your search engine positioning is a great start.

Every day your ideal customers are searching for keywords with the intent of buying your products or services. Your competitors get this traffic and ensuing sales because they appear at the top of SERPs (organically or via PPC). Ranking high for valuable keywords is crucial to get an edge over your competitors. But it’s easier said than done.

This article will cover some basics about search engine marketing and list some of the best SEM agencies on the market.

What is an SEM agency?

A search engine marketing (SEM) agency specializes in helping you increase your visibility for keywords in search engines via both paid and organic means.

“PPC” describes the process of bidding for keywords to appear higher in search results. “SEO” describes the process of optimizing your website to appear higher in search results organically. “SEM” is an umbrella term encompassing PPC and SEO to achieve this unified goal. An SEM agency helps you get more targeted traffic to your website through various PPC and SEO tactics.

Why work with an SEM agency?

SEM agencies help to optimize your website for clicks from Google. Through both optimizing your website for SEO (on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO) and creating well-executed PPC campaigns, an SEM agency will help you attract targeted visitors to your website.

The more visitors that come to your website with the right intent, the more you’ll increase revenue, brand awareness, and all the other benefits of appearing above your competitors in SERPs.

If you don’t have the experience or team to plan and execute SEM campaigns, working with an SEM agency can help you get results and save you time.

Best search engine marketing (SEM) agencies

There are many different agencies you can choose from. We’ve listed 10 agencies with an excellent reputation, a proven track record, and experience with various aspects of search engine marketing.

1. Writing Studio

Writing Studio is a content writing agency that provides SEO content writing services. To rank at the top of search engines, you must consistently publish high-quality content that targets keywords your customers are searching for.

Writing Studio’s team of expert SEO writers, editors, and content managers can help you plan and execute a content marketing campaign that helps propel your brand above your competitors.

Our writers are subject matter experts (doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.). We write content that ranks high, engages your target audience, and helps convert them into customers. Writing Studio has some of the best reviews in the industry and we know how to use the power of words to fuel your search engine marketing efforts.

2. KlientBoost

KlientBoost is a performance marketing agency providing SEM services. Their team can help with PPC campaigns and various aspects of SEO, such as content marketing and link building.

There are a lot of SEM tasks KlientBoost can help with (essentially everything), from optimizing manual bids, copywriting, measuring ROI, competitor research, keyword tapering, quality score assessment, and more.

KlientBoost has worked with some big names, such as Airbnb, Bloomberg, Upwork, and more. They also have excellent overall reviews of their services (and over 600 + success stories on their website!)

3. HawkSEM

HawkSEM is a full-service SEM agency. HawkSEM offers several SEM services, including PPC, remarketing, conversion rate optimization, performance display, SEO, and content marketing.

They follow a straightforward four-step process to help drive results with SEM for their clients: Planning, execution, reporting, and optimization. HawkSEM’s core philosophy is all about immersing themselves in your business model, thinking big, and aiming to increase revenue and ROI over time. HawkSEM has worked with companies such as Nike and DIRECTV.

4. SocialSEO

SocialSEO is a digital marketing agency offering several SEM services, including remarketing, A/B split testing, audience targeting, optimization, and more. They can help with Google Ads, Microsoft (Bing) Ads, and more.

SocialSEO promises industry-leading expertise, consistent attention, transparency, and no long-term contracts. They also provide customized reporting with live dashboard reports to help you understand how your account is performing. They provide 24/7 access to your reports, in addition to your analytics and ad accounts.

SocialSEO also offers SEO services to complement its PPC services. They’re a Premier Google Ads partner and have countless positive reviews of their services from past clients.

5. Thrive

Thrive is a digital marketing agency offering SEM solutions to businesses of all sizes in all industries. Thrive offers many SEM services, including display advertising (banners, interstitial, video, rich media), Google Shopping, remarketing, and YouTube ads (TrueView, Pre-roll, Bumpers). They also offer SEO solutions such as SEO technical SEO, on-page and off-page SEO, and more.

Thrive is an award-winning SEM agency helping companies increase their visibility on search engines since 2005. The company has various SEM-specific case studies you can review, with many positive testimonials from previous clients and results, such as increased clicks, click-through rates, traffic, and improved conversion rates. Overall, Thrive appears to be a capable and credible SEM agency.

6. Brafton

Brafton is a content marketing agency that provides SEO and PPC alongside its primary offering. Brafton’s SEM experts help you use paid and organic search tactics to help you increase your search traffic.

Brafton helps you set goals for your paid and organic campaigns; they help you determine how much to spend, recommendations to lower CPC, measure PPC and SEO KPIs, such as conversations, and adjust strategy based on findings. Brafton has a good reputation and is worth considering for SEO and PPC.

7. Alphametic

Alphametic is a search engine marketing agency helping companies grow with SEO and PPC. Alphametic helps you put your brand in front of customers actively searching on platforms like Google, Bing, YouTube, or other search engines.

Alphametic’s SEM process and strategy include everything, starting with campaign strategy, keyword research, A/B testing, tracking, and tools. Alphametic is a Google partner, Bing partner, and has experience helping companies increase their online presence through paid advertising and SEO. They’ve helped large brands such as L’Oreal and more grow their online presence.

8. Tilt Metrics

Tilt Metrics is a B2B digital marketing agency that helps companies get more qualified leads with PPC and SEO. They can help with SEM for Google Ads and YouTube Ads. Tilt Metrics follows a three-step process to help you with SEM.

  • First, they “attract” by finding your best customers and creating compelling offers.
  • Secondly, they convert, including A/B testing, identifying the best keywords to convert.
  • Thirdly, they scale, including doubling down on profitable campaigns, repeating success in new channels, etc.

Tilt Metrics has helped numerous companies grow through paid ads and SEO, including Mojotech, Belkin, Crisp, and Astra.

9. Actuate Media

Actuate Media is a top-ranking digital agency with a specialty in SEM. Actuate Media is Google Ads Certified and follows best practices. Actuate Media can help you reach people searching for valuable keywords for your business.

Actuate Media can help you achieve increased search engine visibility through organic (SEO) and paid (PPC) solutions. The company is heavily conversion-focused and data-driven. They constantly analyze results and seek to improve upon them. Actuate Media has happy clients around the world in most industries and appears to be a great SEM agency to consider partnering with.

10. WebFX

WebFX is a digital marketing agency providing SEM solutions for companies of all sizes and industries. WebFX takes a custom approach to help companies with SEM. For a new company, this could mean ranking for non-competitive long-tail keywords. For enterprises, this could mean combining content creation with web development to create a unique user experience.

WebFX’s SEM services can help your company with both PPC and SEO. Their SEM services offered include everything you can imagine, from content marketing and keyword research to A/B testing and conversion rate optimization. WebFX is a huge agency experienced working with both small local businesses and enterprises such as Subway and Hilton.

Tips for finding the best SEM agency to partner with

There are so many options to consider, and so it can be challenging to choose an agency. The following tips will help you make a good choice.

Proven industry experience

The principles of SEM campaigns, i.e., keyword research, writing ad copy, etc., are the same regardless of your industry. That said, it’s a good idea to work with an agency that has specific experience in your industry.

Let’s say you’re a plastic surgeon and you’re aiming to get more traffic for your clinic. Suppose you’re working with an agency that doesn’t understand medical compliance and the nuances of medical practices. In that case, your campaigns may not perform as well.

Overall, it’s usually better to work with an agency with experience with your industry, as they can lead on past experiences with similar clients to understand what will likely work best for you.

Case studies

Case studies are critical to check out. Whether you’re looking for PPC, SEO, or both, a reputable agency will have case studies showing the results they have achieved for their past clients.

If an agency you’re considering has excellent case studies, this signals they know what they’re doing and will likely be able to get you results too, not necessarily the same results (as agencies are inclined to show their best). Still, it’s a good sign that they walk the talk.

Reviews

Reviews, like case studies, are essential to check out. Every company will have positive testimonials from their clients on their website, so be sure to look at third-party review websites such as G2, Clutch, and Google reviews, to see what previous clients are saying.

There are bound to be a few negative reviews for bigger companies. Still, if the overwhelming majority are positive, this is a good sign you can also expect to have a positive experience working with the agency. It’s also worth looking at employee reviews on Glassdoor if it’s important to you to work with an agency with a happy team and positive company culture. 

Communication

You could find the most skilled SEM company to work with — they know what they’re doing; they get results. But if their team has poor communication, it will not be a pleasant experience for you and your team.

When working with any agency, it’s important to assess factors such as cost, case studies, services offered, etc. It’s also important to see if you’re going to work well with the people on their team.

Do they ask good questions? Do they seem to care about your success? Do they respond promptly and try to ensure you’re happy as a client (or even as a prospective client)? Communication is crucial for a positive experience and getting the best results, so opt for an agency that values good communication.

Cost

Cost is an important factor to consider when finding an agency. Generally (but not always), more expensive agencies provide better services and results.

When looking for an agency, it’s essential to find one within your budget. Still, for SEM specifically, the returns on investment can be high when it’s done right, so sometimes going with an agency that prices 20% more but has an incredible service will be a better and more affordable option than the cheaper one due to the ROI you receive.

The important part here is to do your due diligence to ensure that they’re worth the extra investment in the first place. Taking into consideration the tips above will help you make a better decision.

The bottom line

Selecting the right SEM agency to work with is vital to ensure the success of your campaigns. SEM is not a short-term investment. PPC campaigns take months to reach their potential, and SEO takes years in many cases. So, taking the time to make sure you’re partnering with a great agency before committing to 6 month plus contracts and campaigns is crucial.

Hopefully, this list has given you a good place to start on your journey of finding the right partner. Remember to take your time when deciding on an agency, and don’t be afraid to give several options a try to see if their process and communication style fits well with your company’s culture.

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