Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a direct and efficient method of advertising on the internet – it can help to connect your business with people who are searching for a company just like yours, but don’t know about you.
SEM is closely associated with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO is the way in which you can influence search engines, such as Google, so they find your site and rank it in SERPs (search engine results pages).
This approach is called organic search because it doesn’t cost anything and as such, many businesses spend plenty of time thinking of ways to appear higher up in SERPs.
As the algorithm that drives Google has developed and been refined, a number of key methods, such as the use of keywords and keyword analysis; traffic and conversion through linked sites, improving internal navigation – have emerged.
SEM – paid for search – is the offspring of SEO strategy. Rather than hoping to appear amongst the top-ranking organic search results, a business can have its website advertised above organic businesses by opting for paid for search or Pay Per Click advertising.
With such benefits, there is a price to be paid but it depends on the policy of the hosting website and the mode of advertisement used.
Here are some of the terms you need to know:
These are adverts that appear on search engine result pages (SERPS). Provided that your website address can appear organically (using keyword SEO techniques), it will be feature in the form of an advertisement ahead of other sites relying solely on SEO. The price you pay for such a service is determined by the amount of times that advertisement appears on a SERP.
This is the fast track option; you simply pay for your advert to appear on a particular page. It is the SEM approach most removed from SEO techniques in that ranking isn’t necessarily determined by keyword relevancy but rather on the price paid for such a ranking.
A business will generally pay an annual subscription for their website to be included on a regular basis.
Pay per click
As the name suggests, the level of traffic directed to a website via its advert dictates how much the advertiser pays to the hosting site. Unlike traditional adverts there is immediate feedback about whether the ad is working. It is however, up to the advertiser to decide what key words are relevant to its target market. This takes time, effort and expense.
Employing an SEM strategy as opposed to just SEO can give businesses a kick-start online. Ranking and exposure through SEO is dependent on your website’s popularity, content and traffic. SEM is not.
It can level the playing field when it comes to online exposure. Of course, it comes at a price. It may well be worth paying to target customers, increase traffic and make sales.