SEM (search engine marketing) 101: an introduction to the basics


SEM (search engine marketing) 101: an introduction to the basics

The world of digital marketing is filled with acronyms like SEM, PPC and SERPs, but what does it all mean? In this post, we’re looking specifically at SEM.

SEM is short for search engine marketing, which is a marketing strategy that boosts a website’s visibility online through the search engine results pages (SERPs). search engine marketing in particular is associated with paid search advertising or pay-per-click (PPC).

Do I need to use SEM for my website?

Well, that depends. If you are talking about a personal website, probably not. For businesses, search engine marketing is all but essential as it helps expand their online reach. Most new users to a website arrive from a search result via a search engine, so ensuring customers get to your site over a competitor can make a huge difference when it comes to business success.

Better yet, SEM works well at directing active customers to a business, which can really help drive sales. By reaching the right customers at the right time, SEM works incredibly well at quickly driving the right kind of traffic to a business website.

How does SEM work?

By employing sponsored advertising on a search engine such as Google, your business website will appear at the top of the results page for certain search terms. Keywords such as locations and services are used to filter searches towards your site, with the paid advertising working to boost your overall visibility in the search engines for specific keywords.

Setting up an advertising campaign for SEM is relatively straightforward. Keywords will need to be researched, which will help link your business to a specific word, such as ‘water services’ for a water company. Geographic location will need to be considered before placing the ad, as this can help narrow down local searches to deliver the most viable leads to you. Finally, a text-based advertisement needs to be created that will appear on search results. All that is left to do is set a bid price for how much each click on the ad will cost and that’s it!

Where does SEM happen?

There are two main channels used by marketers when it comes to search engine marketing – Google Adwords and Bing Ads. Although pricing is lower on Bing Ads, Google Ads is used by more people and considering it is the default search engine for users of Android phones and those using YouTube and Gmail, it may secure more visibility. Having said that, Bing Ads grants you access to Yahoo’s network of sites, as well as Bing’s own traffic. For best results, you may want to cover all bases. To discuss how SEM could work for you, get in touch with us today.