Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that aims to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages. It involves the use of paid placements, contextual advertising and paid inclusion.

SEM is the discipline of acquiring the most valuable traffic for your business to your website – an important point as your website is a strategic tool for increasing brand awareness. As search engines are now the go-to source of information for Internet users, the era of digital marketing has emerged to force change in the nature of marketing as a whole.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO, see our previous article) is only one part of SEM; it’s about optimizing your website’s content, while SEM as a whole is about using various means of marketing; for example, Google Adwords and Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. SEM has two parts; Search Engine Advertising (sponsored links) and Search Engine Optimisation.

SEM has been growing much faster than traditional advertising and other channels of online marketing. Your keyword analysis needs to be determined for both SEO and SEM but not necessarily at the same time.

Because the technology associated with SEM is incredibly complicated and hard to grasp, a secondary “search marketing agency” market has emerged to service companies that want to outsource it altogether. In this case, the complexity of SEM causes marketers to rely on a third party agency to manage their strategy for them.


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Search Engine Marketing Management (SEMM) focuses on return on investment (ROI) instead of relevant traffic building (as is the case of mainstream SEO). It also integrates organic SEO, which is seen as more trustworthy as it aims to rank high on search results without having to pay for their spot. Changes can be made to your page’s layout and how content and information is displayed to your visitors in order to achieve a higher organic ranking. An SEM campaign may include keyword research, landing page optimization, Pay Per Click campaigns, ROI analysis and more.

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