SEM Positioning

SEM Positioning: definition, characteristics, operation and advantages

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) positioning is the paid positioning method that's used to reach the first results positions faster. It includes all strategies that have to do with positioning in search engines, including SEO. However, in this article we will talk about SEM as positioning in search engines through payment.



What is SEM positioning?

SEM positioning is paid positioning within search engines. Its main mission is to attract new visitors and generate quality traffic to the website. Given Google’s prominence, in this article we will refer to SEM positioning in this search engine.


Before developing the advantages and characteristics of SEM positioning it's necessary to understand why we need to position ourselves at the web level.


In the digital world, those with more chances of having visits are those who appear on the first page of Google. Keywords have a fundamental role in search engine positioning. Companies have to compete for certain keywords to position themselves. How do we achieve these kinds of positions? We have two options:

  • Arrive organically (SEO). In this case, we will have to develop an SEO strategy and enter the Google game. We will have to understand what their algorithm is and work to make our content suitable by creating a link building strategy, putting images that do not weigh too much, etc.
  • Pay to get to the top (SEM). If we want to appear in the first paying results, we will have to develop a SEM strategy taking into account which keywords we are going to position according to our audience.

In short, we could say that the SEM positioning is an advertising model in which search engines advertise our website, but we only pay if someone clicks on our sponsored link. That is why we talk about pay per click (PPC).

SEM Positioning Operation

How can we carry out our SEM positioning? We are going to enter into the matter. 

The most relevant platform to manage our strategies within the Google search engine is Google Ads. Through this tool, we can create campaigns that will allow us to position ourselves in the top results.

When we search on Google, we can differentiate the paid results by those that are by the word "ad" that appears below the title. Search engines, in this case Google, put our sponsored link on the first positions when we buy keywords. But, we must have analyzed the keywords that we want users to find us, using tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, or Ubersuggest.

By purchasing these keywords, we will enter into a bidding system in which each company will decide what it will pay for each user that clicks on its link (PPC). Google will decide which links to sponsor based on two concepts:

  • The payment that the advertising company has made for the keyword: the CPC. The cost per click is the value that we define within Google Ads to mark how much we are going to pay for each click.
  • The relevance to the user. Although we pay to appear in the top positions, Google always takes users into account. Google adjusts content based on user's Google searches. They will put the content they consider most relevant to them. If we are relevant, Google will help us to have more traffic thus more customers.

Characteristics of SEM positioning

The four main characteristics of SEM positioning are the following:

  • Payment. These are pay per click ads (PPC), meaning we will only pay for the clicks we have obtained.
  • Speed and short term. Thanks to SEM positioning we can, in a reasonably short period of time, appear in the top positions of the first page of Google.
  • Its main tool is Google Ads. Through Google Ads we can create SEM campaigns and pay only for what we have achieved.
  • Complements SEO. Combining SEM and SEO will have a short term digital marketing strategy of SEM, as well as a medium to long term strategy of SEO. There is no answer to the question of which of the two is better, since it is the combination of these that makes a strong digital strategy.

Advantages of SEM positioning

  • Greater segmentation. The main tool to create SEM strategies in Google is Google Ads. To help finalize our segmentation process, we can adapt our ads according to the users we want to contact with characteristics such as age, gender, and even hobbies.
  • Increase your web traffic, especially in the short term. Unlike SEO, SEM is instantaneous. Once you have purchased your keywords, you have to wait for Google to place you in the top positions, which will make your website more accessible and visible.
  • Monitoring and exhaustive measurement. Thanks to Google Ads, we will always receive information about the results of our ads and keywords. Additionally, we will have detailed information about what users do. For example, the number of clicks our ads receive, the number of impressions, their position, the cost of the campaign, etc. We can even link the Google Ads account to the Google Analytics account to complete the data.
  • Short-term profitability and cost control. With SEM positioning we have absolute control when it comes to stopping and starting campaigns. We decide the money that we want to invest and we only pay when there is some interaction with the users, normally, when they click on our text ads or while they see a video ad that we have created. We fix the budget without any commitment and we can stop the campaigns when we consider appropriate.
  • Capture of leads. By investing in online advertising, we generate traffic to our website, so it will depend on us if we convert that traffic into customers or if they will be passing visitors.
  • Everyone has access. Not only can large companies access this type of advertising, but it is also available to micro, small and medium-sized companies.