A Beginner’s Guide to
Search Engine Marketing

In this article, we will guide you on the basic things you need to know about search engine marketing (SEM). At the end of the article, we guarantee that you won’t feel like a novice about this subject.

Let’s begin, shall we?

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Search engine marketing is the process of earning visibility in search results by employing search engine’s paid advertising. In other words, for you to rank higher in the search results, you need to pay for it.

The three main types of SEM are PPP (Pay-Per-Click), PPI (Pay-Per-Impression) aka CPM (Cost Per Mille), and PPS/PPA (Pay Per Sale or Action). Of the three, PPC is the most well-known and most popular. Hence, we will discuss it a bit further…

What is PPC?

PPC is an online marketing strategy that involves the payment of a particular fee by an advertiser when an ad is clicked to lead to the advertisers landing pages or websites.

The fee to be paid is not constant and varies due to several factors such as the keyword cost and the number of advertisers who are ready to pay for it.

The interesting and good thing about this strategy is that you get exactly what you pay for. This is because you don’t get to pay any fee if your ad is not clicked. Hence, you don’t lose out in any way. Click here to read more about pay-per-click.

Important SEM Terms 

Here are a few terms that you will come across as you delve deeper into the world of SEM:

1. CTR (Click-Through-Rate)
This refers to the rate at which your ads are clicked by users. The number of clicks divided by the total number of ad impressions equals CTR.

2. Advertising Network
This is a network where advertisers can place their ads which will then be displayed on several websites through a contract agreement with the advertiser. Whatever revenue is gotten through those ads will have to be shared according to the terms in the contract with the Network.

3. Keywords
These are words and phrases that are used in search queries by a user for the engine to display results that match the query.

4. Ad Impressions
This deals with how many times your paid ads are shown on search engines anytime users enter keywords that are related to your target keywords. Ad impressions don’t automatically mean that your ad has been seen by users.

5. Quality Score
Quality score is given to an ad or site by search engines. This score is gotten by measuring CTR, keyword performance, landing page, and other vital factors. Visit Google Ads Help Center to learn how to use the quality score to improve your website’s performance.

6. Ad Campaign
An ad campaign or campaign refers to a chain of advertisement messages that have a single theme or idea. This campaign is a reflection of the objective of your ad and is ranked at the highest level as far as advertising is concerned.

Search Engine Marketing Platforms

These platforms refer to those search engines that allow advertisers to place their ads which are then shown to users when a related search query is performed. Google and Bing are the two most well-known SEM platforms.

1. Google Ads
This is widely used with over a billion searches performed each day. If you choose to use this platform, you will get to reach a large online audience.

2. Bing Ads
This platform boasts over 3 million users that are unreachable by Google. When you place ads on Bing partner sites like MSN and Yahoo, Bing ads will aid to connect you with those internet users that don’t make use of Google.

Types of Search Engine Marketing Keywords

We talked about keywords a bit earlier. It will interest you to know that they are of different types. Let’s take a look at them…

1. Broad Match
This keyword type targets term variations which include phrases that are similar, plural or singular forms, synonyms, and even misspelling of the targeted term.

2. Phrase Match
This type of keyword targets the phrase exactly as it is. It also targets phrases that include words that are found after or before the targeted keyword.

3. Exact Match
This focuses on words closely associated with the targeted term. Hence, misspellings, plural or singular forms, paraphrases, reordered words, abbreviations, or words with similar search focus as the target term.

4. Negative
When this is used, all the terms that aren’t targeted will be excluded. They are terms that won’t be used in your ad campaign which means they are deviations from the other three keyword types.

Benefits of Search Engine Marketing

What are the benefits you get to enjoy if you use SEM? Well, here are a few:

1. Immediate Brand Awareness is created
No matter how good your SEO strategy is, you will have to wait for a while before you begin to see results. In other words, with SEO, it will take time before your site begins to rank high on search results. You can visit Colorado Springs SEO company to learn more about SEO strategies that will help you rank higher.
Although, the result of SEO is of better quality than SEM; however, with SEM, you will begin to enjoy immediate brand awareness. This is because the latter strategy enables you to even rank at the top of a Google page without having a strong authority and value.

2. You Reach People More Efficiently
With SEM, you can target your demographics and location. Hence, you can reach the people that are actually interested in what you have to offer and not just anyone who is just surfing the internet.

3. Immediate Revenue is Generated
If you apply the right techniques, it is possible to get immediate revenue from your ads. This will even allow you to expand your marketing at a faster rate.

Disadvantages of Search Engine Marketing

The following are some of the disadvantages of using SEM:

1. Can be quite expensive in some cases.

2. May lead to a swift website ranking drop.

3. Some users do not trust SEM.


We hope you now have a beginner’s understanding of SEM. If you are interested in learning more; go right ahead, there’s a whole new world waiting for you to explore.