How Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Can Benefit Your Business

Marketing SEO
Chris Sharpe

Search Engine Marketing vs. Search Engine Optimization

You have probably heard the buzzword, SEM, thrown around marketing circles, but do you know what it actually means? SEM and SEO sound similar and sometimes get used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. Read on as we explain the difference between the two.

In order to gain the most relevant traffic in today’s search environment, it’s important for websites to display on the first page of a search result. There are two ways for website owners and marketers to target first-page status: SEO and SEM.

Search engine optimization is the practice of making sure your website content is relevant and is presented in the most friendly way possible both for searchers and search engines. There are many factors that go into SEO such as page title tags, site speed and the relevance of content. Because Google (and other search engines) want to ensure they are serving up the best organic content for their users, they also rely heavily on other factors such as linking domains and domain history. SEO requires ongoing attention in order to optimize for best SERP rank. According to a study conducted by ahrefs, 95% of newly published pages won’t rank in the top results for the first year of their existence!

If that sounds like a long time to wait for prospects and leads to start pouring into your website, don’t fear! There is another way for your website to be visible on page one.

SEM stands for search engine marketing, and generally refers to the strategies surrounding paid search. This generalization stems from SEM’s origin as an umbrella term covering SEO and paid search efforts. Search engine marketing is synonymous with utilizing Google Ads, Bing Ads or any other paid search platforms.

Depending on the term being searched, over 30% of a SERP can be comprised of paid results. These results are located at the top and bottom of the page and can be presented in various ways. Through SEM, marketers have the opportunity to display their content to their desired target audience for search terms they deem most appropriate. One of the best things about SEM is that Google’s perceived domain authority of a website is not really a factor. Google considers the maximum bid, the relevance of ad copy/features and the page being linked to (landing page) in order to determine who gets the coveted number one spot.

Paid Search Ads examples for “Rain Jackets”


Benefits of Paid Search Marketing for Business

Fast Results

Search engine optimization can take time to see your desired results. On the other hand, SEM can result in an almost instantaneous stream of qualified prospects and leads. As long as you research keywords, write good ad copy and provide a relevant landing page, you can see fast and favorable results.

Qualified Leads

Through SEM, the traffic clicking on your ads will be better qualified because you can target specific keywords that align with your customer’s needs.

Metrics and Tracking Performances

One benefit search engine marketing has over traditional print and media advertising is that you can directly attribute your results to ad spend. Instead of trying to associate sales results with a printed billboard or a tv commercial, you can know exactly how your target demographic is engaging with your ad.

Brand Awareness/Recognition

Paid search ads can help improve the recognition of your brand over time. In marketing, there is a generally accepted rule of repetition that says viewers need to be exposed to ads up to 7 times before they decide to take action. With paid search, when people are searching for specific keywords, they will be exposed to your brand consistently over time.

How to get started with SEM

Not sure where to start? There are a ton of great resources out there to help business owners and marketers learn the basics of SEM.


Google hosts a free academy that teaches the basics of all its products, from Google Ads and Google My Business to Google Analytics. Explore the Google academy.

LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda)

LinkedIn provides a large library of learning opportunities including Google Ads fundamentals. These courses are a great way to learn the basics as well as fine tune your existing knowledge. Explore the LinkedIn Learning Library.


One of the best ways I have found to learn something new is to dive in and practice. With Google Ads you have the option to spend as much or as little you desire, so set aside $20 and practice setting up an ad! Once you have the basics down, experiment by adding extensions and other features.

Contact Us

Still have questions about search engine marketing or do you need help creating a strategy and implementing a campaign? We have a specialized team to help you! Give us a call at 253-272-2248 or message us at