What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a process that uses multiple methods to improve market visibility and exposure for a brand, product, or service.
SEM mechanisms include search engine optimization (SEO), social networks, bids, pay-per-click (PPC), contextual advertising, paid inclusion, geomapping, AdSense and AdWords, as well as various media formats such as YouTube and geospecific marketing such as Foursquare.
Search engine marketing tools include:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Maximizes search results by targeting and driving web traffic and ultimately increasing sales. The majority of the results of the search engine pages come from unpaid or organic search. SEO optimizes websites to ensure optimal search engine placement, such as Google, as only 15 percent of users continue past the first page.
Social Media Marketing (SMM): Focused on branding, reputation building and extended customer service via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Smaller SMM channels are Digg, Delicious, Wikipedia, StumbleUpon and MySpace. Social networks are visited by a total of over a billion people. Hence, even the simplest marketing efforts like paid advertising have the potential to reach large audiences.
Paid Search: Examples of paid search include sponsored links, banner and sidebar ads, where contextual ads are based on organic search results.
SEM is represented by the following sectors:
- Consulting / Marketing: 12 percent
- Retail: 10 percent
- Financial services (including insurance): 8 percent
- IT, software and education: 70 percent
SEM increases web activity in the following ways:
- Address users
- Moving traffic
- Improving brand awareness and reputation
- Increase search engine results pages (SERP)
- Selling products or services
- Generate leads
- Provision of content for research purposes
- Increases conversion rates