What is Search Engine Marketing? (SEM)

    Do you ever click through to the second or third page of Google results? We’re going to hazard a guess and say “not likely”.

    If that’s where your business is ranking, you need to grow your online visibility and one way is through SEM.

    What is SEM? It’s Search Engine Marketing.

    In this face-paced, technology-driven world, the competition is fierce for businesses to appear on the first page of an online search engine. The higher the result, the higher your business ranks, and the more likely you’ll see traffic to your website.

    What is Search Engine Marketing

    How does SEM work and how to start?

    Unlike Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which is free and grows your website organically, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is essentially paid advertising online. And while SEO takes time to build, with SEM you can see results immediately.

    Through SEM, businesses pay to be in the top spots on search engine results pages (SERPs). These are clearly labelled with the word “Ad” appearing at the beginning of the website URL.

    To achieve this, SEM uses Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising platforms, such as Google Ads.

    Targeted Keywords

    SEM uses targeted keywords, and the success of your SEM is determined by choosing the right keywords for your business.

    You have to bid on targeted keywords, so it’s important to choose search terms your target audience is using, otherwise you won’t get the results you’re looking for from your ads.

    Words that describe your brand, products, or your competition are ideal. Keywords should be relevant to your business with a high volume of searches but low competition. Finding a balance between demand (volume) and budget (competition) is essential to a successful SEM strategy.


    Once you’ve identified your keywords, you will need to compete with other businesses and sites through bidding. The rankings, or the order websites appear in SERPs, are typically proportional to how much someone has bid. Put simply – if you’re the highest bidder, you’ll appear above all the other ads.

    Quality Score

    Quality Score is an important PPC metric. Ad placement isn’t solely determined by how much you bid but also the Quality Score attributed to your ad and website. The Quality Score indicates if your ad is a good match for your chosen keywords.

    Google calculates this score based on a combination of the click-through rate (CTR), the quality of your landing page, and your Google Ad account’s overall Quality Score. Quality Scores are reported on a 1-10 scale. High Quality Scores are rewarded with discounts on each click and can increase your ranking in the SERPs.

    Ad Copy

    Even if your ad/website has made it to the top of the SERPs, you are not guaranteed a click which is why compelling ad copy is essential. Effective ad copy leads to a higher click-through rate boosting your Quality Score.

    Ad copy is made up of three components – title, display URL, and description. To write great ad copy, you need to understand your target audience and what answers they are searching for. You should use your ad copy to hook users in, so they click on your website.

    An effective SEM strategy

    While you’ll see SEM results instantly, sometimes it takes a few tries and tweaks to get a positive Return on Investment (ROI) from SEM.

    SEM is an effective strategy for businesses seeking to increase lead generation and improve brand visibility online.

    Digital Marketing and PR are about growing your brand and market share. It makes smart business sense – strategically and economically – to have professionals from both digital and PR working together to provide dual support for your website, online campaigns, and the media.

    To learn more about how Adoni Media can support your digital marketing strategy and SEM, contact us