What is SEM?

 

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) was once a term to encompass both SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and paid search activities. Over time, SEM has now become a term referring only to paid search (also known as paid listings). SEM is one of the most effective ways to grow your business in a marketplace bursting with competition. With millions of businesses all vying for the same group of audience, it has never been more vital to advertise online, and SEM is the most effective way to promote your products and to grow your business.

 

SEM is the practice of marketing where a business uses paid advertisements that appear on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Advertisers will bid on keywords that users of Google and Bing may enter when looking for specific products or services, which give the advertisers the chance for their advertisements to appear alongside with the results for these particular search queries.

 

These advertisements, also known as PPC (pay-per-click) ads, come in various formats. Some are small and text-based, whereas others like PLA (product listing ads, or also known as shopping ads) are more visual. Product-based advertisements allow viewers to see important information all at one glance - such as price and reviews.

 

What is the difference between SEM and SEO?

 

SEM is paid search marketing, a system where search engines get paid for businesses to show their advertisements in search results. SEO is not paid - businesses do not have to pay search engines for the traffic and clicks earned on their advertisements. As long as they have the most relevant content for a given keyword search, they will have a spot in the search results.

 

Keywords are the foundation of SEM. When users enter keywords (in their search queries) into the search engines, SEM will take place, showing the advertisements in the search results. Comprehensive research as part of your business’s keyword management strategy should be done before choosing the keywords to use in your SEM campaigns. Keywords must be relevant to your business and must be words that prospective customers are likely to use when searching for similar products or services. An in-depth keyword research not only helps you identify the keywords to bid on, but also negative keywords – search terms that should be excluded from your campaign. This is so that you can eliminate unwanted searches that you may have to pay extra for.

 

Google Adwords is one of the many methods and the most popular paid search platform used by search marketers. Another one will be Bing Ads, that serve a significant portion of advertisements on Yahoo. There are also a number of ‘2nd tier PPC platforms’ as well as PPC advertising options on the various major social networks. Each of the platforms offers its own Getting Started guides and helpful tutorials to help your get through the site.

 

One misconception about SEM is that the advertiser with the largest advertising budget wins. Although the advertiser may have advantage, especially when targeting highly competitive keywords, a large budget is not a requirement to succeed in SEM. All advertisements go through a process called the ad auction before appearing alongside search results. One example will be ad auctioning in Google Adwords. The auction process takes place every single time someone searches on Google. To be qualified for the ad auction, advertisers will identify the keywords to bid on, and state how much they are willing to spend (per click) to have their advertisements appear alongside results that are related to these keywords. If Google determines that the keywords bid on are contained within a user’s search query, the relevant advertisements will be entered into an ad auction. Not every single advertisement will appear on every single search, because it takes a variety of factors to determine the ad placement on the SERP. Not every keyword has sufficient commercial intent to justify the display of ads next to results. Two main factors Google will take into account as part of the ad auction process will be the maximum bid and the quality score of the advertisements. Maximum bid is the maximum amount specified that a business is willing to pay per click. Quality score is a metric, based on the overall quality of your advertisement. Google calculates these metrics during the auction to determine the advertisement placements. The result of the calculation will be known as the ad rank.

 

The greatest benefit of SEM is that it offers advertisers the chance to place their advertisements in front of potential customers who are already interested in the product, making it more likely that they will purchase it immediately. No other advertising methods can do this, which is why SEM is so efficient and powerful to grow businesses.

 

The greatest benefit of SEM is that it offers advertisers the chance to place their advertisements in front of potential customers who are already interested in the product, making it more likely that they will purchase it immediately. No other advertising methods can do this, which is why SEM is so efficient and powerful to grow businesses.

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