What is SEM?

by | Oct 19, 2014 | Info, PPC

Exactly what is SEM (search engine marketing)?

More importantly, what are the two predominant methods that webmasters, online marketing specialists and everyday marketing departments use to increase a site’s PageRank and a company’s online presence? In order to answer these aforementioned questions, think of the how pay-per-click (PPC) advertising works versus search engine optimization, or SEO for short. Think of how both approaches work within the context of increasing a website’s PageRank amongst the largest of today’s search engines, search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Included is an explanation of how both SEM strategies work to broaden a company’s online reach.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

A per-per-click campaign is an online advertising tool meant to use keywords and keyword phrases that are unique to the company’s target audience, and or its product & service offering. These keywords are used within PPC campaigns in order to direct valid clicks back to the company’s website. These advertisements appear on multiple websites, online forums and weblogs where likeminded individuals and customers congregate. The advertiser pays the publisher a fee for each and every valid click. These publishers are typically website owners whose content is similar in context to that of the keywords used in the PPC campaign. The benefits include having the ability to drive qualified leads and increased traffic to the company’s website. The drawbacks are the costs, which can be substantial depending upon the keyword and the competition involved.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, relies upon a more organic approach to increasing a website’s PageRank and consequently, its traffic. The idea is to structure content around specific keywords, the same keywords, and phrases that are used by potential customers in online searches. The immediate benefits are the potential for a low cost. However, it requires a substantial investment of time. Companies must be able to turn out a consistent volume of engaging and informative content. In addition, that content can’t be static. Gone are the days when companies could rely solely upon the written word. Today’s enterprises must be willing to use interactive video and graphics in order to keep more qualified leads online.

Can an argument be made that the costs of SEO marketing are as high, if not higher, than that of running a PPC campaign? Well, when companies factor in the amount of time it takes to write content, and include the costs of well-prepared video, then yes, it can be quite expensive. However, companies are often able to justify the investment in time as a cost they themselves can control. In essence, they are able to keep more capital on hand by using solid SEO strategies.

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