SEM – What Is It?

If you want to grow your business online, search engine marketing can help you with that. SEM can help business owners promote their products or services online. But what is SEM, and how is it done? Keep reading to find out.

SEM Basics

It’s a marketing strategy where businesses advertise themselves on search engine results pages or SERPs. Advertisers usually bid on keywords that consumers use when searching for specific products or services. Their ads appear alongside results for search queries. Such types of adverts are called pay per click ads in some context. And they may be in the form of texts such as product listing or visual content in which consumers can see all the relevant information such as reviews.

The most significant benefit of SEM is that it allows advertising to consumers who are ready to make a purchase instantly. In other advertising methods, one first places an ad, then gives consumers time to debate whether or not they should purchase that product or service.


Although these two strategies work closely as a team, they aren’t similar. SEO is taking effective steps to improve your website’s ranking in unpaid search results in search engines. When someone searches for something online, Google and other search engines use certain algorithms to determine which page appears first. SEO efforts, therefore, aim at positioning one’s website to appear among the top sites.

But with SEM, websites bid for keyword phrases. If an individual bids successfully, their ads will appear on first pages instantly.

You don’t necessarily need both SEM and SEO. But businesses which implement both these two receive more traffic and make more sales.

SEM Platforms for Marketing

There are different ad platforms on search engines which allow this kind of marketing. They include Bing Ads and Yahoo Search Ads. But most people use Google AdWords. However, individuals should remember that even though all search engines use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, not all PPC is SEM. Facebook Ads, for instance, is a PPC advertising method. But it’s not SEM since your content is shown to people who happen to be browsing their feeds, and not those who’re searching for such ads at the moment.

Are Keywords Important in SEM?

Yes. Search engine marketing relies on keywords. When creating an ad for search engines, one determines which keywords are relevant to pop up in searches. Users type keywords as part of the search queries in Google. As such, you should ensure that your advert will appear when consumers do their search online.

Individuals should, therefore, do in-depth keyword research. Luckily, tools like SEMrush can help you identify which words are relevant to your market.

How Much are SEM Campaigns?

Well, that varies depending on some factors such as quality. When someone runs a successful Search engine marketing campaign, Google will reward them with low costs and high visibility. But, if you decide on the ‘set it and forget it’ option, you’ll pay much money.

When using this marketing strategy, individuals should focus on long term strategies such as improving their quality score as well as social media presence. That way, this method will be cheaper.

Final Thoughts

SEM is a great investment since your ads are shown to people who’re searching for what you offer. However, it’s always best that you speak with an expert on ways you can win the bid.