Search engine marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through optimization and advertising.

SEM includes both paid search results and organic search results (SEO). SEM uses paid advertising with AdWords or Bing Ads, pay per click (particularly beneficial for local providers as it enables potential consumers to contact a company directly with one click), article submissions, advertising and making sure SEO has been done.


Methods and metrics for SEM:

  • Keyword research and analysis
  • Website saturation and popularity
  • Back end tools
  • Whois tools

Keyword research and analysis involves three “steps” for good SEM: ensuring the site can be indexed in the search engines, finding the most relevant and popular keywords for the site and its products, and using those keywords on the site in a way that will generate and convert traffic. A flow on affect of keyword analysis and research is the search perception impact. Search perception impact describes the identified impact of a brand’s search results on consumer perception, including title and meta tags, site indexing, and keyword focus. As online searching is often the first step for potential consumers/customers, the search perception impact shapes the brand impression for each individual.

Website saturation and popularity for good SEM, or how much presence a website has on search engines, can be analyzed through the number of pages of the site that are indexed on search engines (saturation) and how many back-links the site has (popularity). It requires pages to contain keywords people are looking for and ensure that they rank high enough in search engine rankings. Most search engines include some form of link popularity in their ranking algorithms.

Back end tools for good SEM, including Web analytic tools and HTML validators, provide data on a website and its visitors and allow the success of a website to be measured. They range from simple traffic counters to tools that work with log files and to more sophisticated tools that are based on page tagging (putting JavaScript or an image on a page to track actions). These tools can deliver conversion-related information.

Whois tools reveal the owners of various websites, and can provide valuable information relating to copyright and trademark issues.

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