A type of website promotion-based internet marketing, Search engine marketing (SEM) increases a website’s visibility in search engine results pages by using tactics like contextualized advertising, paid inclusion service’s like the ones offered by Google and Yahoo! and paid placement through online advertising networks.
An understanding of SEM and its various applications can help you with promotion your business, increasing its visibility, and penetrating the online market sectors in general. A working knowledge of the SEM meta industry, comprised of services like search engine marketing consulting and organization, is also an increasingly useful skill set to possess.
SEM is something of a grouping term for a wide variety of website marketing techniques like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a method of content optimization focused on increasing a site’s ranking in search engine results pages, but SEM’s heavy use of paid components, sometimes to the exclusion of SEO, could qualify it as an alternate field entirely.
2008’s SEM market in North America alone comprised over thirteen billion in spending by advertisers pursuing search engine marketing. Microsoft adCenter, Google AdWords, and Yahoo! Search Marketing currently lead the SEM industry as its largest vendors. SEM has outstripped more traditional advertising methods, primarily because of the general market shift toward the internet as a medium, though SEM outshines other internet marketing methods as well.
SEM Metrics & Methodologies
Website optimization in SEM is generally pursued with four categories of methods and metrics. The first, WhoIs tools, are legal identity-logging and pursuit software dedicated to determining, in simple terms, who owns which websites. WhoIs provides users with important information concerning copyright law, trademarks, and other issues of web legality.
Another keystone of SEM is website saturation, as related to internet popularity. A website’s presence on search engine results pages, combined with how many of a site’s pages are indexed (saturation) and the prevalence of backlinks to the site (its popularity Web-wide), can all be analyzed to determine a website’s value and visbility. Keyword density is key to achieving web saturation, given the technology used by search engines to codify results by relevance and the prevalence of trending analysis software used to determine which words are most sought-after in Web searches.
Keyword research, in combination with keyword analysis, comprises the third leg of SEM metrics and methods. In principle it involves making certain that a site is capable of being indexed by search engines, further refining this process and the website’s ranking by determining and incorporating the Web’s most current and popular keywords and attaching them to the site and its branded material, and lastly generating increased traffic through quality, unobtrusive application of those keywords.
Since most search engines incorporate a link popularity sorting algorithm to determine site ranking, links and backlinks are critical to achieving good keyword research and analysis.
Back end tools deliver important conversion-related data, including simulated Web-crawler data that can help to give you a realistic idea of where your websites stand in online rankings.
Paid Online SEM Inclusion
Paid inclusion (or sponsored listing) services like the ones offered by Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other prominent search engines, constitute search engine companies levying fees in exchange for the guaranteed placement of a website in their search results pages. Paid Inclusion is dominated by Google, but the aforementioned large publishers do maintain steady business this way.
Making sure your website is reliably indexed should be a top priority for any businessperson in the modern market.
In fact, many search engines garner their main revenue streams through offering a paid inclusion service. Google’s paid inclusion service is a multi-billion dollar revenue generator on a yearly basis, and the fee for paid inclusion also serves to prevent frivolous submissions.
Fees are usually annual and cover a single webpage which the search engine company then catalogues regularly, though the model has expanded in recent years with companies like Yahoo! offering permanent search result placement for placement-specific fees. Pay Per Click or PPC fees also sometimes factor in, and all major search engines include both paid placement and web-crawling popularity results on their results pages.
Paid inclusion is closely related to SEO, given the similarities like repeated content-testing with the goal of raising a site’s ranking. Given the nature of the service results are typically observable within days, rather than months, and any experience garneted through experimentation with paid inclusion can easily be transferred toward improving and optimizing other websites without repeated fees to the search engine company.
SEM & SEO
SEM contains Search Engine Optimization principles, acting as an umbrella discipline to the more specific field. SEM’s use of article submissions, advertising, SEO analysis, and ad publishing tools like Google’s AdWords, make it of special utility to local vendors because of its increased ease of contact for consumers through services like PPC.
Keyword analysis is central to SEM and also SEO, though some variation does occur. Being aware of SEM as a larger field than SEO can help you to make use of its full marketing potential. SEM’s need for constant monitoring and frequent updating helps it, and your business, to effectively cope with changing market trends.
While SEM is a term often used interchangeably with Pay Per Click advertising, this use of the field ignores its enormous potential in the larger search engine marketing community, as well as its encompassment of SEO and Search Retargeting (securing the attention of a target audience based on their past search history). Commercial advertising and marketing have a definitive interest in spreading the concept that SEM means PPC, given that technique’s high relative value to their market endeavors.
SMM, or Social Media Marketing, is another increasingly important component of SEM. SMM comprises a kind of marketing that exploits social media platforms like Google+, Twitter, and Facebook in order to sway consumers toward a particular brand, service, product or agency.
Many recent theoretical breakthroughs have included data gleaned from search engine marketing management, a subfield of SMM related to SEO but placing its primary focus on ROI (return on investment) instead of traffic building like most SEO endeavors do. SEMM is also heavily invested in what is known as organic SEO, the exclusion of paid services coupled with the attempt to achieve top or relevant ranking in search engine results pages.
PPC SEO is also an important component of SEMM. Viewed holistically, SEM includes most technologies and practices necessary to ensure a business or brand’s continued visibility and success
The Internet as Forum
Today’s internet is a competitive field. Ease of access, the ready availability of technology of technology like Google AdWords, and a high degree of technological literacy among professionals in all market sectors all combine to form a densely populated and highly skilled internet marketplace.
Skilled application of the principles that constitute the broader field of SEM can help a business to stand out and achieve prominence by maximizing the impact of the same technologies that every serious marketeer is employing. With an even playing field and swarms of competitors, rigorous application of the theoretical cutting edge is crucial to success.
SEM, made possible and bolstered by tools like Google’s AdWords and Google Finance, allows an unprecedented degree of self-awareness for the modern agency, organization, or business. With minute-to-minute coverage of stock exchanges, corporate decision-making, and content-specific Web search trends, you can achieve a strong, adaptable market presence by integrating modern techniques like keyword integration and SEO into your business model.