Search Engine Marketing or (SEM) is a form of Internet Marketing that involves the promotion of website by increasing their visibility in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) primarily through Paid Advertising. Search Engine Marketing is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. “Search Engine Marketing” was once was used as an umbrella term to encompass both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid search activities. Over time, the industry has adopted the SEM acronym to refer solely to paid search.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and or “Paid Search” refers to paid listings.
Advertisers bid on keywords that users of services such as Google and Bing might enter when looking for certain products or services, which gives the advertiser the opportunity for their ads to appear alongside results for those search queries.
These ads, often known by the term pay-per-click ads, come in a variety of formats. Some are small, text-based ads, whereas others, such as product listing ads (PLAs, also known as Shopping ads) are more visual, product-based advertisements that allow consumers to see important information at-a-glance, such as price and reviews.
Search engine marketing’s greatest strength is that it offers advertisers the opportunity to put their ads in front of motivated customers who are ready to buy at the precise moment they’re ready to make a purchase.
No other advertising medium can do this, which is why search engine marketing is so effective and such an amazingly powerful way to grow your business.
Below are some of the most common terms also used to refer to SEM activities:
- Paid search ads
- Paid search advertising
- PPC (pay-per-click) *
- PPC (pay-per-call) – some ads, particularly those served to mobile search users, may be charged by the number of clicks that resulted in a direct call from a smartphone.
- CPC (cost-per-click) *
- CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) *
- Most search ads are sold on a CPC / PPC basis, but some advertising options may also be sold on a CPM basis.
SEM For Beginners
Google AdWords is by many measures the most popular paid search platform used by search marketers, followed by Bing Ads, which also serves a significant portion of ads on Yahoo. Beyond that, there are a number of “2nd tier PPC platforms” as well as PPC advertising options on the major social networks. In addition to covering general paid search trends, you can find the most recent news about SEM and helpful tips to get started with PPC ads on the major search marketing platforms below: