What is SEM in Marketing?

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The world of digital marketing is both complex and exciting, with numerous opportunities for companies around the globe. Today, businesses that do not adopt this form of marketing risk being left behind by the competition and losing a significant part of their market share. There are different types of digital marketing, each helping businesses to reach specific target audiences and marketing goals. Search engines have claimed their rightful place as essential marketing platforms. By using an effective strategy and the right techniques, you can increase the visibility of your website on a search engine results page. Increased visibility will help you to attract more qualified online traffic that will ensure you enjoy improved sales performance. With this in mind, Search Engine Marketing, also known as SEM, is a marketing activity that businesses in the modern world can no longer ignore.

What is SEM in Marketing?

SEM is short for Search Engine Marketing, a specific type of marketing on search engines. Under this form of internet marketing, you promote your website by increasing its visibility in search engine results pages mainly through paid advertising. Advertisers bid on the keywords that searchers use, allowing them to place their ads in front of motivated customers who are willing to buy at the exact moment that they want to make a purchase. This is an effective marketing tactic for growing your business in a marketplace that is becoming increasingly competitive. Search engine marketing may involve search engine optimization, a process through which you improve website content and adjust site architecture to rank higher among search engine results.

As already noted, SEM includes the use of both paid search and search engine optimization. Essentially, the digital marketing process focuses on getting organic as well as paid traffic, effectively maximizing the number of visitors to your website. Considering that shoppers who click on ads are 50 percent more likely to purchase, this technique can lead to increased sales volume. In search engine marketing, you will pay only for the impressions that result in visitors, which makes it an effective way for businesses to spend their money and increase their return on investment. For every visitor you get on your website, there will be an incremental improvement of your website’s rankings in organic search engine results.

The fact that SEO and PPC work well together means that your business can launch coordinated SEO and SEM campaigns. As you wait for the time and money you have invested in building your brand and site to pay off, search engine marketing will deliver immediate results.

How Does it Differ From SEO?

It is already clear that SEM can make use of SEO techniques to help increase your online visibility. Similarly, SEM and SEO can work well together to ensure you achieve the desired results. So how does SEM differ from SEO? Here is what you should know.

Traffic Cost

SEM results are paid placements, meaning that you will pay a fee each time a user clicks on an SEM result. As such, you will have to budget for the entire period that you plan to show the ads and use paid search to generate leads. On the other hand, SEO is free, and you will not pay anything when a user clicks on an organic search result.


Although both SEO and SEM have strategies that are designed to help you connect with a given audience, only SEM lets you specify that target audience. Depending on the publisher you choose to work with, you will be able to select the audiences that you want to see your ads through SEM. Selecting your ideal audience can be done using filters relating to age, income, location, habits, and other factors. Through SEO, you can be specific on the audience that will see your search results.

Time to Results

The impact of SEM is immediate, with adverts showing on search engine results pages as soon as the campaign is launched. In essence, advertisers can turn on ads when they want to increase visibility and turn them off to stop showing. SEO is a long-term strategy that takes time to deliver the desired results. It not only takes time to implement the strategy but also to improve rankings on search engines.

Lifetime Value

SEM will only be active when you are paying for the ads, with the strategy coming to an end when you turn off the ads. SEO leaves lasting results since it grows and compounds with time. It also adds value to your online marketing campaign as time goes by.

Is SEM Right for my Business?

Regardless of the type, or size of the business you run, search engine marketing will benefit your business. Below are some of the advantages of making SEM a part of your larger marketing strategy.

Increased Exposure and Visibility

SEM allows you to place ads somewhere where a lot of people will see them. Whether you want to reach local customers or promote your products on a national scale, this would be a great way to increase brand awareness. The tactic promotes visibility and attracts more qualified traffic through targeted advertising.

Cost-Effective Way of Marketing

If you are working with limited resources or would want to increase your return on investment, SEM would be the right online marketing option for you. This form of advertising is not only cheaper than traditional marketing but also lets you control your expenses and budget. You can always turn the ads on and off, depending on what you want to achieve.

SEM Gives you Valuable Insights

Through SEM, you will be able to track websites and phone calls to specific ads. Tracking ads will make it easier for you to determine the ads that are performing best. At the same time, you will obtain real customer insights, allowing you to make better decisions during the campaign.

It is Scalable

One of the advantages of SEM is that it grows with your business. As you start out, you can work with a small budget to test things out and see what works. When your revenues go up, you can consider increasing your marketing budget, refining your campaigns, removing ads that are not working, and increasing the number of ads to be displayed.

Improved Sales Performance

By having an immediate impact, SEM helps you to generate revenues quickly. Within a short time, you will enjoy increased website traffic and higher conversion rates. You can also adjust your campaign, a factor that will give you a competitive advantage and help you improve your sales performance.

Launch Your Campaign Today

Launching coordinated SEM and SEO campaigns requires relevant expertise and experience. As such, you should consider hiring digital marketing experts to help with your digital campaign. Looking for a small business SEO consultant you can trust? BizIQ offers smart and effective marketing solutions at affordable rates. Contact us today to learn how we can help you to increase your online visibility.

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