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Imagination Born From the Heart of Australia

  • Writer's pictureArryn Leigh Cox

What is SEM?

What is SEM or Search Engine Marketing?

In this post I am going to give you a basic explanation of what SEM is and how

it works in the world of digital marketing

In my last blog post ‘What Is SEO’ I gave a basic explanation of the term SEO or

Search Engine Optimization.

If you have not read that post yet make sure you do go and read it before you read the rest of this post.

So, if you have read that post and you now have a basic explanation of SEO I'm now going to explain SEM.

So, as a quick recap in relation to SEM, SEO is Search Engine Optimization. Whenever you get onto the internet you use a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, and you type something into the search bar and that search engine then scours the entire internet and finds what is most relevant to that search. You then given a list of what SEO determines are the most relevant websites to that search term.

Now what you'll notice is that usually the top two or three of these search results, if there are ads for this search term, those top few will look exactly the same as the rest of the search results, except for the fact that there will be a little ‘ad’ icon. That means that those results were not chosen through SEO, but through SEM.

In the process of SEM, you first must pick a search term for which you want to advertise. Once you have picked a search time you then need to bid on that search term. There are a number of factors that a search engine will use to pick the winner of this bid.

Let’s say for example that you were picking a search term on Google. Once you’ve picked a search time you might be at $1.50. That would mean that every time that term was searched on google your ad would appear. You would then pay $1.50 every time someone clicked on that ad. This is called a pay-per-click method.

Google would take this bid into account. However, the next thing Google would look at out of all ads bidding for that ad space would be “which is the most relevant to that search time”.

What this means is if one person bids $1.50 per click and another person bids $1 per click, but the person bidding $1 has a more relevant ad to the search term, then they may be given the first spot for their ad and the person bidding $1.50 May get the second spot on the search results.

The other thing to keep in mind with these ads is that if you want an ad to appear on multiple search terms you must bid for each of these search terms individually.

Let’s say for example that you were a mechanic in North Sydney. If you wanted an ad to appear on the search term ‘Sydney mechanic’ and you wanted an ad to appear on the search term ‘North Sydney mechanic’ as well, then you would need to make a separate bid for each search term.

These are the basics of Search Engine Marketing or SEM.

In my next blog post I will be giving a comparison of SEO and SEM.


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