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What Is SEM Marketing?

Zarian Lewis

Topics: SEO, SEM

Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, is a powerful tool to increase your online visibility to potential customers. SEM marketing involves investing money to improve search engine rankings and get paid ads directly in front of potential customers. The perk of SEM is the ability to leverage marketing dollars to move to the front of the line. But one misconception to clear up right away is that your marketing budget is a driving element, but not the deciding factor. There's also a lot of confusion about the difference between SEM and SEO. We would like to clear up the differences between the two and introduce some popular SEM techniques.

Difference Between SEM Marketing And SEO

You've probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is easily confused for SEM. Like that infamous "a square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not a square" conundrum. Thankfully, the difference between SEM and SEO is easier to understand. Both SEM and SEO use similar tools, such as keyword optimization. They share a common goal, to make it easier for you to get noticed in the crowded world of online information.The distinction is in the methods, not the results. SEM uses techniques like Pay Per Click (PPC) and sponsored listings to get the job done.

Popular SEM Marketing Methods

Pay Per Click

PPC is when you invest money in specific keywords. The more you pay, the higher the likelihood of your website popping up in a search result. In theory. The reality is intelligent choice of keywords, search engine algorithms, and potential customer search phrases and history all play critical roles in addition to your budget. An easily recognizable example of Pay Per Click is GoogleAdwords. Some words cost more, others less. The price depends on several factors, such as the word's popularity and how fiercely marketers are willing to compete for it.

Keyword Choice Is A Critical Investment

Interestingly enough, the best strategy isn't to invest solely in costly, highly sought after words. Choosing keywords is a lot like picking stocks for an investment portfolio: the key is to diversify. If you successfully step into the mind of a potential customer and understand their problems plus how they search, you can find great success with lower priced keywords. But, at the same time, those competitive keywords aren't cheap for a reason, so having a few in the mix is a sound investment. Choosing the right keywords is incredibly challenging. It's not to be taken likely, as it is equivalent to laying the foundation of a home for your marketing strategy. Contact the experts at Little J to find the best keywords for your budget.

Sponsored Listings

Another popular approach is to pay for sponsored listings. Sponsored listings can manifest in several ways. They appear as listings that always populate the top of a Google search but aren't technically part of the rankings. You can pay another site with customers similar to your own to list your ad. This is the digital equivalent of advertising pain relief medication next to a knee injury article in the sports section of the local paper. This technique significantly increases the chances that whoever sees your ad is part of your target audience. As opposed to spamming people on an email list. In email campaigns, you pay a lot for X number of names. Only to find out later that 1% of those people were ever potential customers to begin with.

There are many other methods for SEM marketing. If you want to learn more, contact Little J for a consultation. We specialize in inbound marketing, branding, and web design. We can help you choose the right SEM methods for your marketing goals and much more.