SEM is short for search engine marketing.

It is a form of Internet marketing linked with the researching, submitting and positioning of a blog or a website within search engines to attain maximum visibility and increase your share of paid and/or organic traffic referrals from search engines.

SEM involves techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO), keyword research, competitive analysis, paid listings and other search engine services that will help you increase search traffic to your business website.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

If you want to use SEM, you have to depend on services such as Google AdWords which utilizes all three methods of SEM (i.e. paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusions). The other similar services include Clicksor, Pocketcents, Kontera, Infolinks, Bidvertiser, Yahoo advertising, and adbrite, among others. One thing has in common in all these services is that each allows an individual or business to pick a keyword or set of keywords related to their field, bid on the keyword(s), determine what form of advertising they want (e.g. banner, textual, etc.), and decide when and where they would like the ads to be placed. It may sound kind of complicated but don’t worry; it is a lot simpler than it sounds. SEM is the only technique that has been proven time and again to produce desired results for individuals or businesses.

Using search engine marketing can cost you few dollars to thousands of dollars depending on what field you’re in. The cost of your SEM “campaign” is also dependent on a whole host of factors such as popularity of keywords that you want to target, number of advertisements you want to display daily and at what time (peak vs. downtime of your target audience), and the service provider you choose to work with.

Google AdWords as we all know has established itself as a favorite of those who want to use SEM for their business as it produces results in a user friendly way and a lot more cost effective then its competitor. The SEM alternatives to AdWords are worthwhile too, but you must be careful, as you might not just get what you pay for.

In contrast to SEM, search engine optimization (SEO) can be also be used an Internet marketing strategy that uses a number of diverse tools to market a business website. However, the ultimate goal of SEO is to make the website rank higher in the search engine search results by employing SEO techniques. SEO is a slow process, and you have to wait for long until you could see the substantial results. SEO is a natural way to improve your website’s ranking, which considers how different search engines function and the actual terms being searched for and typed into search engines. SEO also takes note of what user search for and which search engines are preferred by them.

SEM can also be defined as the means by which a business is promoted through its website with the means of optimization and paid advertising. It is more of a kind of an umbrella term that is used to describe sales efforts using the Internet. As we said before SEO involves a long-term commitment through natural or organic efforts to increase the ranking of a website on the Search Engine Results Pages. While paid advertising involves just what it say, that is paying to have a presence on the SERP’s so that to market your product or service. These tactics can both work together, or at the same time; they can work separately depending on the marketer needs.

SEM is All About Control

The most imperative element of Search Engine Marketing is that you can have complete control of your marketing campaign. Employing in this type of marketing means you can select what your visitors see when coming to a website and what products to display. The landing page where the product is displayed is the place where all efforts are directed with relevant keywords that adequately describe a product. Having a good landing page means enhancing the curiosity of viewers enough to want to click the links connecting to the product or service being offered. It is a means of control that allows business to obtain high volumes of Internet traffic that will hopefully convert current viewers to prospective purchasers.

Commonly used SEM Strategy

It is important to remember that SEM is the broader term through which many tactics can be driven. Listed below are some of the possible strategies that can be used.

Pay Per Click (PPC) – This is the optimal way to pay for online advertising as no cost is incurred for the
advertiser unless a user click on the link. It allows for the control of funds spent on advertising. It also provides an opportunity to control ROI, which helps to receive the highest number of conversions.

Paid Inclusion – This model of online marketing is utilized on many search engines. It is clearly identified as a paid advertisement which provides opportunities for a name or brand to be at the forefront of the search engine results. However, it is not necessary that it will always place a company or product on the first page of the result’s pages.

Pay per play (PPP) – Pay per play (PPP), also known as cash per play (CPP), is an online advertising method that plays an audio advertisement on websites. The term “pay per play” comes from advertisers paying for each audio ad played. It has become rapidly growing form of advertising and is the latest revolution in Internet advertising. It is the only SEM that permits you to procure and multiply earnings from searchers to a web page, offering you a 100% conversion rate.

SEO Vs SEM

By going through the article you must have probably known that SEM means Search Engine Marketing, and SEO means Search Engine Optimization. Though you might be less familiar with SEM, Both the techniques are about getting your website recognized and ranking on search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization is all about dealing with search engine robots so that it recognizes keywords within the text and meta data of your website or blog and matches them to search terms that people search in Google, Yahoo or Bing. By using these keywords, the search engines with the help of crawlers ( a computer program that is used by search engines to scan a web page) will create a database of results that the searcher can choose from. Once you identify your right keywords and target audience, you can easily improve your website text to be listed in the search results.

You can also promote your business website by commenting on blogs or forums with a link to your website, or by putting your business on a web directory with a link to your site.

SEM

SEM involves promoting your business website on search engines, blogs, directories, forums and other websites through online advertising.  You could set up a Pay Per Click marketing campaign with the likes of Google to target specific consumers and potential customers.

SEO Tips

  • For SEO, you need to Write compelling and keyword rich articles and blogs that will bring potential clients to your website.
  • Optimize your website meta-tags and meta-descriptions to include keywords so that search engine’s crawlers know what your page is about and will help to be found on search engines.
  • Optimize your website content as well so that it completely stands out and be entirely original also try to have natural keyword density.
  • You must keep in mind not to overload your blogs, articles, or website content with too many keywords, as the Google ‘bots usually ignore such content.

SEM Tips

  • Try to get your business website and its pages listed on as many web directories and search engines as you can to boost traffic to your site.
  • Set up an email campaign to reach people who might be interested in buying your services or products. Alternatively, it can be done simply for branding purpose.
  • Start a PPC advertising campaign (make sure to decide your budget first) on Google or Yahoo to get advertising space online and target a larger audience for prospects.
  • You can also get involved in a blogging community or forums to comment on other blogs or topics to create linking opportunities.

In order to get the best from your SEO and SEM campaign you need to start by building the right foundations. If you are not aware or unsure how to do this, you should work with a professional team or company that will be able to guide you and help you by using their own expertise and knowledge. Such team can develop a plan which will help you achieve your online targets and aspirations.

The advantage of working with a professional team is that it will save you time and money. It will also help you avoid some of the pitfalls that some other companies may have fallen into while they attempted to learn about Internet marketing and SEO for themselves. A professional team is capable to understand your needs and can work with you to develop a plan that suits your budget and gives you the return on investment that will justify your outlay and give you the results you seek.