What Is SEM, And Why Should You Care?

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Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a term that describes the various advertising methods you can use to make your website more visible on search engines in order to drive more traffic to your website. The most common one is Google Adwords where you pay Google to advertise your websites on top of the search results through a “pay-per-click” (PPC) model. With proper optimization of the ad campaign, one can maximise the ROI of these methods.

Unlike SEO which focuses on optimizing your website during the web design stage so that your site will rank higher within the organic search results pages, SEM focuses on driving a constant traffic flow to your website.

Why Should You Care?

There is no use to a fancy website if no one knows about your website existence. You have invested your money and effort to get a website to reach out to potential customers who might require your products or services. But if they can’t find you, you will not get the kind of results you are aiming for from your website.

Both SEO and SEM can help you to drive traffic to your website, but each method has its pros and cons.


If you work on SEO and get your website to the first page of the search results pages, you will definitely see an increase in your website traffic flow. However, there is no guarantee on the amount of traffic you are getting. Also, Google has been improving and changing its algorithm so that no one exactly knows how it actually works. One good example is the last Google Hummingbird update that has caused many websites to disappear instantly from the search results pages. However, for SEM, you will definitely be able to drive lots of visitors regardless of Google’s algorithm.

Second Place Is Fine Too

For SEO, ranking on the second page has a great impact on the website’s traffic flow. There are very few people who search pass the first page of the search results. However, for SEM, having a second spot may be a good thing as users often click on the second or third position ads other than the first one. Also in certain cases, having a second position might be more cost effective.

What To Consider?

Web searches have become one of the top ways to research and shop for products and services and many businesses have rapidly shifted their marketing initiatives towards digital marketing (including SEM and SEO) to reach out to the masses. Here are some things to consider before executing any digital marketing plans.

Track The Results

Be sure to track the performance of your website first using Google Analytics. It is able to record the number of visitors arriving at your website and even which pages they visit. It can also integrate with Google Adwords to see your ad performance.

Proper Landing Pages

In order to get the best results possible, be sure to set up various landing pages for your ad campaign to target the right audience. It will definitely helps in SEO and even SEM on the Quality Ad Score.

Set Goals

Every plan needs to have a goal. Without a goal, it is like throwing money to the sea and just hoping for some form of results. Different goals will have different implementations. For example, if your goal is to get more subscribers into your mailing list, be sure to create an attractive freebie to entice visitors to sign up to your mailing list. If you are looking to clear off your old stocks, you can consider having a sale promotion writeup on your ads.

Don’t Act Smart

Last but not least, do not be afraid to ask for help from trained professionals. Normally, small business owners are not marketing gurus, much less search engine marketing specialists. Often, it is a better use of time and money to work with a professional than to do it yourself (DIY). You will also be able to get better results if you just let the professionals guide you through.

The Takeaway

Growth takes effort, and as a small business, you are often bombarded with lots of different avenues to spend your precious marketing budgets. SEM might be a good way to start due to its flexibility, immediacy and ability to target. However, SEM is not as simple as you might think. A trained professional is able to help maximise your ROI from this marketing investment.

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