What Is SEM - Vine Street Digital

What is SEM? Search Engine Marketing Explained

What is SEM?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and refers to the purchase of ads on search engines. While SEM can sometimes refer to all marketing efforts relating to search engines, it’s most commonly known as the paid advertisements only. 

Learn the Lingo

The world of digital marketing is full of confusing acronyms, so here are a few that are related to Search Engine Marketing.

  • Paid search ads
  • Paid search advertising
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click)
    • Can also be used to refer to Pay Per Call. Some types of ads, usually mobile search ads, are charged based on the number of phone calls that were generated as a result of the advertisement.
  • CPC (cost-per-click)
  • CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions)
    • Most SEM is done via a CPC or PPC basis, however, some also offer options that allow you to pay based on how many times your ad shows. This is called CPM.
  • CPA (cost-per-acquisition)
    • This is used not only when talking about business goals, but can also be another bidding method. CPA bidding allows you to set a target based on what you’re willing to pay for an acquisition or conversion.
  • SEO (search engine optimisation)
    • Different from paid advertisements. This is the process of optimising your website to rank higher on the organic listings.
  • SERP (search engine results page)

The Platforms

There are numerous platforms and search engines that offer SEM / PPC advertising options.

The major ones include;

Google Ads is by far the most popular paid search platform used by PPC professionals. However, there are a number of secondary and lesser-known platforms that are available as well.

SEM can be an incredibly powerful tool for businesses. There’s a common misconception that you have to be working with a large budget in order to see results – but it simply isn’t true! With the correct targeting, bids and advertisements, you can ensure that you put yourself in front of potential customers when they’re looking for you.

Want to find out how Search Engine Marketing could work for your business? Learn more here.

Written by Gemma Renton