Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a broad tactic of promoting a website on the internet.  Search engine marketing tactics involve the use of both organic search (SEO) and paid search called pay per click (PCP).  It is interesting to note that some people use the term SEM to refer to just paid search activities. When reviewing contracts or other “term” sensitive material, it would be advised to have a clear understanding of the definition of Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Why use SEM?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a great way to get visitors to your website quickly through the use of pay per clicks (PCP).  While at the same time you’re extending the reach of your marketing campaign through organic searches (SEO).  This type of marketing model works great for start-up companies that can generate sales “right from the start”.  They just need to get their products or services where customers can see them.

As seen in the example below, it would make a lot of sense to initiate a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy.  As the company will be earning profits from day one.  In time, the company can decrease there dependency on pay per clicks (PCP) and focus on their lower cost search engine optimization (SEO) style of marketing.

(Market saturation occurs at 1000 visitors)

As seen in the table above, the use of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a great way to get a new company up and running earning profits almost instantly.  Another important fact is that as time passes you’ll be able to decrease your dependency on pay per click (PCP) as your organic search results grow.

When to use SEM?

The use of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is great when you can turn those paid clicks into cash.  It’s also works well with companies that can afford a pay per click campaign knowing it may take some time before sales pickup.

Advantages of SEM?

Search Engine Marketing is the best of both worlds, it offers quick exposure to new markets while building your long term SEO strategy.  The pay per click allows you to try new slogans, and ad campaigns on the fly while providing enough data to quickly analyse the results.  If the ideas are profitable, use the same marketing strategies to build your SEO campaign.  SEM is a great way to test ideas quickly.

Disadvantages of SEM?

If a company anticipates that it’ll take some time for customers to adopt their brand or service.  The use of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) may not be the best idea, due to the cost of pay per clicks (PPC).  A pure SEO strategy may help the company conserve on cash.

Think of a new tech company who is still adapting there products for commercial use.  Why use search engine marketing until the product ready to be sold to consumers.  The company is better off with a pure SEO marketing strategy that will would in tandem with the adoption and creation of products in commercial markets.

Is SEM for everyone?

Search Engine Marketing is not intended for everyone.  If your company needs to develop a brand fast, and has deep pockets, SEM is a great tactic.  If your company’s capital is limited or you’re still working on your target audience.  You may be best off using SEO tactics.  Note: SEM is also very useful for seasonal promotions, or used as a hedge against any unexpected drops in SERPs.  In short it wouldn’t be a bad idea to use pay per clicks continuously, as it does take some expertise to learn how to use pay per click marketing. In fact Google offers certification in their Adwords pay per click program.