Definition

search engine marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing is a method of promotion and advertising to help companies’ content rank higher among search engine traffic. Like search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) helps companies improve the way content is ranked by search engines. SEM helps companies bring their products and services to the attention of audiences who are ready to buy.

While there are many tactics involved in SEO and SEM, SEM focuses largely on garnering traffic through paid advertising. Marketing departments identify keyword terms that might draw constituencies to a website page. Just as with SEO, SEM identifies keywords through keyword research analysis to identity keywords that audiences are searching on.

Another aspect of SEM is development of website architecture. SEM and SEO benefit from website pages that are easy for search bots to scan easily and that include logical linking to other websites and so forth.

 

Marketing departments are the primary beneficiaries of SEM. By paying for certain keyword terms, they can drive inbound traffic to websites. SEM helps boost traffic by making products and services display more prominently given paid advertising. While website browsers may benefit from SEM by having products and services more easily brought to their attention, they also have to be on guard against website activity that is spurious or doesn’t address their needs.

This was last updated in September 2016

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