Search Engine Marketing Definition

sem deifinition
Here is my definition of Search Engine Marketing (SEM):


Search Engine Marketing (aka pay-per-click) is the process of buying keyword-targeted ads to deliver relevant experience to consumers actively searching for your product or service at a positive ROI. 


The key components of my definition are:

1. Relevant Message

2. Customers Searching

3. Positive ROI


In this day and age, customers look for information on search engines, and Google in particular. In fact, 79% of customers begin their purchase journey on search engines. At the Zero Moment of Truth just before the purchase decision is made, they Google search reviews or compare prices on their mobile phones. Are you in their consideration set? If you are not on the first Google results pages on the keywords that describe your product or service, you are not. 


Relevancy is key in SEM. Search engines actually reward relevant ads. When you run Adwords pay-per-click campaigns you get a discount on cost per click (CPC) if web searchers find your paid search ads relevant. Google measures relevancy by the ratio of clicks to impressions (i.e. click through rate), and it is called Quality Score. Competing with a large number advertisers buying the same keywords inhibits ability to grow click share without SEM optimization strategies. If your quality score is low relevant and will need to pay more for every click. More on it later, but, just so you know, you control relevancy but (1) keyword selection and optimization, (2) ad copy, and (3) landing page experience.


matt capalaMatthew Capala (@SearchDecoder) is a search strategist, speaker, trainer, innovator, author and blogger at Currently, Matthew is the Head as Search at Profero, the largest independent global digital agency. He is also an Adjunct Professor at NYU, where he teaches a graduate course on search marketing.

8 replies
  1. web design
    web design says:

    SEO and SEM are the 2 most common words used in the world of digital marketing. It’s good to know that you made a perfect discussion about SEM. It’s clear that SEM deals more on paid marketing strategies and techniques.

  2. Digital Marketing Agency
    Digital Marketing Agency says:

    Nice post. Your information is really good. Thank you for sharing…
    Digital marketing is the best way where you can drive all the traffic you wish, for this you must have a quality website but if you don’t have a quality website that converts your prospects, you are wasting time and money.

  3. Brent McLaulen
    Brent McLaulen says:

    These are great points about SEM. SEM and SEO usually go hand and hand to make a certain campaign successful. Seo reseller service providers also use SEM to promote their campaigns to gain more popularity and visibility. However, it needs skills and knowledge on the process of bidding to get your money’s worth.

  4. John Grints
    John Grints says:

    SEO company Melbourne uses this kind of strategy as well. This gives a better result when it comes to B2C or B2B marketing schemes. PPC is one of the techniques in the implementation of SEM campaign. It’s a very diverse techniques, but if done right, success will surely be at hands.


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