Search Engine Marketing

What Is Search Engine Marketing? Definition and Basic Concepts 

June 2021

SEM, or, search engine marketing, is a highly effective way to increase your ranking on search engines like Google, and attract qualified traffic to your website. Investing in SEM is a great way for you to grow brand awareness and increase sales.


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Search Engine Marketing


Search Engine Marketing Definition

SEM is a type of digital marketing strategy that is focused on getting your company or your client on the first page, if not the first position, of search engine results. The purpose of this if to drive a higher volume of traffic to your site, which you can then convert.


What Is Search Engine Marketing?

Search engine marketing includes all the tools, techniques, and strategies that help optimize the visibility of websites and web pages in search engines such as Google and other, similar sites.


There are two main ways to show up at the top of the result.

  • Organic or natural results are usually displayed in the center of the page and are selected by Google's algorithm. This algorithm assesses both the relevance of the website (the quality of the content and to what extent it responds to a specific search) and the authority of the website (links from other pages).
  • Paid results are also displayed at the top of the page but in a column on the right. Unlike organic results, here the advertiser must pay a certain amount for each click on their ad. To buy advertising space on search engines, it is necessary to use platforms such as Google Ads.

In theory, search engine marketing covers both types of results. But in practice, techniques that are aimed at improving organic positioning fall into the category of SEO and techniques that are aimed at appearing among the paid results are categorized as SEM. To avoid confusion, we will use the term SEM or search engine marketing only for the later.


Therefore, search engine marketing consists of a series of tools, techniques and strategies aimed at optimizing search engine advertising, appearing in the top positions, getting lower costs per click, and maximizing conversions from these ads. The most well known and widely used SEM platform is Google Ads, but there are other solutions, such as Bing Ads, for example.


Search Engine Marketing Concepts 

  • Keywords: these are the terms that users enter into search engines that prompt a particular ad or search result to be shown. They do not have to be individual words. In fact, it is common to use groups of words or phrases, such as "buy Nike shoes" or "what is the best accounting software."
  • Concordance: when setting up a campaign in Google Ads, you will need to define the degree of correspondence between the keywords you have selected and the terms that people use when typing a query into a search engine. This is known as "concordance." For example, if you opt for a broad match, the ad will be displayed when the user searches for synonyms or terms similar to the keyword. If you opt for an exact match, the ad will appear only when the user enters a specific keyword in the search engine.
  • Text ad: this is the standard type of ad that is shown in search engines, although today there are a variety of options such as shopping ads. Text ads usually include a title, a visible URL that can be customized, and a short description.
  • Ad group: in Google Ads, an ad group consists of several ads that feature the same keywords. This way, you can see which of them are the most effective.
  • Campaign: in Google Ads, the campaign is like the "umbrella" under which different ad groups with similar goals are organized. For example, if you sell school supplies online one campaign could include ad groups featuring textbooks, another could have backpacks and a third could focus on drawing materials.
  • Landing page: this is the web page the user is directed to after clicking on an advertisement. To achieve good results with search engine marketing, this page must be optimized to get conversions and prompt users to take certain actions (like completing a form to download an ebook). The keywords, the ad shown, and the landing page should all be aligned to ensure a good user experience.
  • Search Network: these are the places where your ads  appear. The most common option is on the top and right of the results page, but you can also show them on other sites such as YouTube.
  • Impressions: this refers to the number of times an ad was shown.
  • Clicks: are the number of times an ad has been clicked on
  • CTR: is the percentage of clicks on total impressions.
  • CPC: is the average cost per click.
  • Quality Score: this is the score that Google gives ads and keywords which influences your cost per click. This score is determined based on the relevance of the ad, the percentage of clicks obtained, and the experience of the landing page. The objective of this system is for higher quality ads to occupy higher positions and have a lower cost per click.

What Value Does SEM Add to Your Business?


Generates Highly Qualified Traffic

Generating traffic organically can be a very long and tedious process where the results are only seen in the long term. Search engine marketing allows you to accelerate this process and get users to your website from the beginning. In addition, you can be assured that these users are interested in what you offer, since they themselves have searched for it.


Generates Visibility

Appearing in the top results of Google and other search engines associates your brand with a specific need even if the user does not click the first time they see it.


Generates Conversions

The ultimate goal of Google Ads and other search engine marketing tools is to improve business results. To do this, you will need to create optimized landing pages that put users on the path to conversion.


Gets the Most Out of Your Budget

One of the great advantages of search engine marketing is that it is a suitable solution for companies of all sizes, since the minimum investment is very affordable. On the other hand, if your brand is growing, you can increase the investment and the complexity of your campaigns to keep your momentum. Also, since you only pay if you get results (in the form of clicks), you can be sure that your budget is used effectively.


Gets Measurable Results

Search engine marketing solutions such as Google Ads provide numerous metrics on campaigns and let you to know what is happening at all times. This way, it is very easy to correct the course if needed and get better results.


Search engine marketing or SEM has great potential to help companies achieve their goals in a quick and scalable way. To get the most out of it, it is ideal to have experts who have extensive experience positioning brands in Google. If you want to take advantage of all the benefits of search engine marketing for your brand, get in touch with us!


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