Search Engine Marketing consists of leveraging a search engine’s paid advertising platform to position your business as a “sponsored” search result in a prominent, visible place on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). The most popular search engines for SEM at the moment are Google and Bing.
A business can setup their ad to target a group of keywords that they’d like to “rank” for, as well as selecting other variables such as demographics and location. These ads will then appear at the top or bottom of the SERPs (depending on various factors such as budget and bidding) and will have the appearance of a typical search result, with the one exception of a small word like “ad” or “sponsored” somewhere on it (this varies among search engines).
Search Engine Optimization is the use of various on-site and offsite practices and factors to make your web properties rank higher in search results. These practices include methods like keyword usage, original content, frequent updating/posting, backlinking, social sharing, bounce rates (how many people leave after viewing just one page), visitors’ average time on site, and the use of images and videos.
Until around 2012, SEO was arguably considered the most vital internet marketing method around and, depending on your industry, it might still be. However, in recent years the growing number of competing web properties in the online space have made ranking very difficult and expensive for many businesses.
This, along with constant changes to some of the top search engines’ algorithms have led many businesses to conclude that paid SEM is more cost effective than SEO. SEO still maintains its importance in many cases, however, such as in the case of local “brick and mortar” businesses whose search rankings are positively affected by the use of nearby city names in the search terms as well as the various search engines’ use of locational data.
Regardless of whether your intended destination for traffic is a sales page, a lead page, or simply a piece of content, the potential internet marketing methods are manifold. Learn which solutions will help you grow the quickest.