SEM stands for search engine marketing. It functions by increasing a website’s visibility in search engine result pages much in the same way that SEO or Search Engine Optimization does, only it functions through the use of paid placement, contextual advertising and paid inclusion. A good example of this would be the advertisements on search engine pages and also on various websites or Google’s AdWords. SEM uses external sources to promote a website whereas SEO relies on more internal sources. SEO processes examine how search engines work and what people are searching for and then they adjust their website’s content and HTML coding to correspond with what is being searched for.
For most smaller and medium-sized enterprise, the workings of SEO are much too slow for them to attain the results they need. There is too much in the way of trial and error, testing and then adjusting and testing again. It can take too long and precious time is wasted while adjustments are made. With SEM the testing and ranking of pages can happen faster. Tests and results can be performed in the same day so one knows immediately if the campaign is working or needs adjusting. These adjustments can then be made and implemented without a significant loss of time. SEM is also beneficial in that it is paid advertising and that means the provider has an interest in making sure the advertising works for their customer. This means that rankings will always be at the top and paid searches will also have access to other affiliate sites as well.
Using SEM advertising options can also be beneficial in helping a business in dealing with their budget issues. They can set their budgets on a daily basis. This enables them to increase or decrease their spending as they see fit. For some they may wish to increase the budget to coincide with seasonal events or because they are generating more revenue. This makes using an SEM very cost effective and for a small to medium sized business this can be a very valuable asset.
Another benefit with SEM is the availability of reports that can show exactly how people are responding to the paid advertisements. Google has many such reports and they track things like the number of clicked through ads, time on site, actions taken and many other bits of information that can be beneficial when one is planning their next campaign or adjusting the current one. SEM allows for more control over the campaign and how it is presented to prospective customers.