Back to the Basics: What is SEM?

You’ve seen it before, you know your competition is doing it and you know people are talking about it, but what the heck is SEM?

SEM stands for “Search engine marketing”. Basically it is the process of marketing your business on search engines. To simplify; the first 3-4 results on a Google search page are paid advertisements.

It is important to note that there is a big difference between SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM. SEO is free way to gain traffic, SEM is a paid tactic to gaining traffic.

Pay-per-click (PPC) in a basic form is:

  • SEM operates using pay-per-click (PPC)
  • As the title suggests you only pay for what is clicked on. If your ad is clicked on 0 times then you pay zero dollars.

Since Google basically owns the internet Google it has become the most common network to place advertisements. However, there are other options such as; Bing and Facebook.

How does this help businesses?

SEM is crucial if you want to grow your business. Unless users are organically searching for your brokerage name, chances are you are disappearing into the abyss of the internet.

SEM uses keywords to trigger the ads in your campaign. For example if you are selling pet insurance you would use keywords that surround the pet insurance industry. Local pet insurance; I need pet insurance; do I need pet insurance?; buy pet insurance; and so on.

By using popular keywords that users enter into Google, your ad will be triggered that directly relates to the users search term. For example if a user searched for “car insurance” your ad for pet insurance would NOT show up — because it is not relevant to the search query. Once a user clicked on your pet insurance ad they would be sent directly to the pet insurance section on your website.

PPC is the only way to guarantee traffic to your website. While you can be an expert in SEO and try all of the free avenues to get traffic to your website, at the end of the day SEM allows you to have the control if your website is showing up on Google. The quality of the traffic will depend on the amount of targeting, specifics of your keywords and if your landing pages invite leads to turn into conversions.

SEM is directly linked to increasing the amount of conversions your business can see. By utilizing SEM, your website can move from page 7 of the Google Organic results page to the top and in front of potential leads.

More Information

While this blog was intended to give you a brief overview of what SEM is and how it can help your business, there are many ways how you can get involved in SEM. If you’re curious about how SEM can help your business,  our team of certified Google & Bing experts can provide a free consultation to show you how SEM can improve your business!