What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

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Search engine marketing is a method of promotion and advertising to help business content rank higher among search engine traffic. Like search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) helps businesses improve the way content is ranked by search engine. SEM helps businesses market their products and services to a ready-to-buy audience.

While there are many tactics involved in SEO and SEM, SEM primarily focuses on driving traffic through paid advertising. Marketing departments identify keyword terms that are likely to attract customers to a website page. Much like SEO, SEM identifies keywords through keyword research analysis to identify the keywords that the audience is looking for.

Another aspect of SEM is the development of the website architecture. SEM and SEO benefit from easy-to-crawl website pages for search crawlers that include logical links to other websites etc.

Marketing departments are the primary beneficiaries of SEM. By paying for certain keyword terms, they can drive inbound traffic to websites. SEM helps increase traffic by making products and services more visible considering paid advertising. While website browsers can benefit from SEM by having products and services more easily brought to their attention, they should also be wary of website activity that is bogus or does not meet their needs.

This was last updated in September 2016

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