What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

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Published at : 06 Jan 2021
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Are you wondering what is search engine marketing? What is SEM? Our video covers what search engine marketing is and how it differs from search engine optimization. You can run search engine marketing ads through popular channels such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Pinterest Ads, Yahoo Gemini, and more.

Search Engine Marketing is also referred to as Paid Search Marketing and it involves keyword targeting or marketing your advertisements towards specific keywords or search queries. Search Engine Marketing is a form of Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) where advertisers can pay for each click to their website.

Our search engine marketing tutorial and tips will help you simply understand what it means and what it is. Ultimately, your goal is to run ads and have paid listings in the search engine results pages. Those ads will drive visibility to your brand and additional paid traffic to your website. The optimal SEM solution is when your paid traffic from search engines is delivering you a positive Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and Return on Investment.

Important Terms:

PPC or Pay-Per-Click or Pay-Per-Call: PPC can refer to you paying for each click to your website or for each phone call to your business. There are mobile call-only ad formats where customers can click to call your business directly.

CPC or Cost-Per-Click: The final amount you spend divided by the total number of clicks will give you your final Cost-Per-Click. For example, if you spend $100 and drive $200 clicks, your CPC is $0.50/click.

CTR or Click-Through-Rate: Your final total clicks on your ad divided by your total impressions will give you your Click-Through-Rate. Generally, a high CTR vs. competitors signifies an organized and optimized campaign.

About the Video:

First, we cover the definition of search engine marketing, which is paid ads on search engine results pages. If you go to Google or Bing or any other search engine with paid advertisements, those are search engine marketing ads. There are a ton of channels where you can run SEM ads but Google AdWords is by far the largest SEM channel for advertisers.

We show you some different examples of Search Engine Marketing ads through Google, Bing, and Pinterest. There are a ton of examples and a quick Google Search will generally help you understand what SEM ads look like.

One important thing to note is that your SEM ads can be images that including product listings. These campaigns are managed by uploading your product feed to the Google Merchant Center and running Google Shopping campaigns. Instead of your standard SEM text ad, you can run SEM visual ads that include images of your products, descriptions, reviews, and more.

Search Engine Marketing ads are constantly changing. They used to just be standard text ads where you can click through to a website. Today, you can run clickable mobile ad formats that allow people to call you with one click. You can run Sitelink Extensions and show off 4 different important pages on your website. You can run Review Extensions and show people the average reviews for your business, which can create trust instantly. You can run Structured Snippets, which can show off brands, amenities, neighborhoods, products, promotions, and more. You can run App Extensions so people on a mobile phone can simply download your app, giving them a better user experience. You can run Location Extensions and show where your business is, which can drive additional foot traffic.

There are so many different things you can do with Search Engine Marketing ads. The main benefit is you can put your ad directly where people are looking. It's like having your plumbing ad directly in front of people looking for plumbers at that exact moment. It has all but replaced Yellow Pages type advertisements (even though those still exist) because you can dynamically change your SEM ads throughout the year.
semsearch engine marketingsearch engine advertising

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