Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a form of internet marketing where a website or individual webpages are promoted by increasing their visibility in search engine results.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a form of internet marketing where a website or individual webpages are promoted by increasing their visibility in search engine results. Unlike Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing tend to rely heavily on paid advertising in search engines.
Successful online marketing often involves a combination of SEM and SEO, as well as non-search engine based activities such as social media marketing initiatives. There are agencies that offers comprehensive solutions for this type of work.
Many search engines offer an internet advertising model where the client in need of advertising pay per click instead of just paying for having an add displayed on the site. This is known as pay-per-click and it is by no means unique to the search engine world.
With the pay-per-click (PPC) model, the advertiser only pays when an internet user actually clicks on their add. Examples of search engines that offer PPC marketing are Google (through Google AdWords) and Bing (through Microsoft Bing Ads).
A client opting for PPC marketing with a search engine will typically select to have the adds shown only in conjunction with searches deemed relevant to the add. A company selling cat food online can thus elect to have their adds displayed when someone make searches that includes terms such as “cat food”, “buy cat food”, “buy cat food online”, “what to feed a cat”, “why wont my cat eat”, etc.
There are two main ways of pricing PPC adds; either the client agrees to pay a fixed price or the client signs a contract that allows them to compete against other advertisers in a private automated auction.
With bid-based PPC, the client informs the seller (e.g. Google AdWords) of the maximum amount that the client is willing to pay for an add displayed and clicked on in conjunction with a certain keyword or keywords. Other factors can also be taken into account, e.g. the geographical location of the search engine user. For each individual search, the highest bidder get their add displayed (but will still only pay if the searcher actually clicks on he add).
As mentioned above, these auctions are automated and all max bids and other parameters must be entered well in advance.
Search engines became a common part of the internet experience in the 1990s. The companies behind these early search engines developed various methods to make money from their engines, and one of these methods was the “pay per click” programs. Pay-per-click was offered by the search engine Open Text as early as 1996. Another early trailblazer was Goto.com, who eventually became Overture before being absorbed into Yahoo in 2003. The now dominating search engine Google has been selling spots on the search result page since the year 2000 when they launched their Google AdWords program.