What is SEM? Search Engine Marketing Explained

What is SEM? Search engine marketing is simply paid ads in search engines like Google and Bing. The common term previously was PPC Pay Per Click however that’s just not accurate to use any more.

So why is SEM now a common term opposed to PPC?

Once upon a time PPC was the common term used for search engine ad campaigns. That’s now changed due to the expansion of PPC. You could have a PPC campaign within Facebook, Linkedin and many more websites that are not search engines.

What is the difference between SEM and SEO?

SEM is the internet marketing term used for paid ads within search engines. Whereas SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the term used for internet marketing method which increases organic results.

Advantages of SEM compared to SEO

There are a few advantages of SEM over SEO.

Firstly the speed at which you can get results, SEM is very fast once setup. You get instant results due to the fact you’re paying for a position within search engines. Whereas SEO is a long term goal it takes time to gain trust and authority to get good ranking organic positions.

It gives you reach to opportunity’s which are not accessible by SEO alone. Due to the nature of the way the ads are displayed you are in the top 1-3 results of a given search term if you bid high enough.

Disadvantages of SEM compared to SEO

To maintain your traffic you are required to keep paying and also keep maintaining the campaign to get good results, which can get very costly. If you stop or slow down you get that result instantly. Whereas SEO your results will continue to bring you traffic until your results slowly dwindle away.

Some users will avoid search engine ads, so you could be position 1 for all your search terms yet you still don’t get the reach you would expect as a lot of people will only click onto organic results shown. Reason for this is any low quality/spammy site can bid high and get high positions within the ads section if they wanted. SEO you have to earn your position.

How much does SEM Cost?

Not so easy to answer as it depends a lot on the budget you set and the company you are using. As a rough guide most company’s charge between 15% to 25% of the monthly spend. So if your Google Adwords spend is 10,000 per month you would expect to be charged between £1500 and £2500 per month for management fees.

Published by John

I have been working in the digital marketing industry since 2006 in that time have made many websites, optimized many sites for better search engine results. I have created and managed AdWords accounts of in excess of a million pounds a year.