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Search Engine Marketing - An Overview

Apr 23, 2008
North American advertisers spend more than 10 billion dollars annually on Search Engine Marketing (SEM). This is one of the fastest growing forms of advertising and for some pretty significant reasons. We'll discuss those in a moment.

One of the best strategies for long-term success in online marketing is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This strategy works to ensure that your website is attractive to search engines when they make a determination on the rank of your site within their pages based on various keyword searches.

On the other hand SEM is used to make your site listed in the advertising section of any search that uses your keywords. Essentially even if your website is not listed in the top ten or twenty on a search engine your site can still be found on the first page a searcher visits.

This strategy can be useful to those businesses that are still waiting for their SEO strategies to demonstrate improved rankings.

Most online businesses recognize that when an individual wants to find something online they are most likely to visit their favorite search engine in an effort to locate the product, service or business they need. For these businesses it only makes sense to market via a search engine to increase foot traffic and attempt a solid return on their investment (ROI).

This strategy differs from Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising in that the advertisements only show up in search engines and only when certain keywords or phrases are used.

Take the search engine Google for instance. Typically 2-3 advertising results come before the standard search engine results. You will also find additional paid results on the right hand side of the screen. These are all SEM ads that are designed to help customers find businesses that can help them with their product requirement.

Those who believe strongly in the potential of improved business performance as a result of appealing to the various search engines will likely view SEM as a potential gold mine for improved site performance and sales.

In some cases you will find the same companies listed in the first page search engine results, but not always. For consumers it may be worthwhile to see which advertisers also show up in the standard search engine rankings. Some people are not always aware of which sections are advertising based and which listings are derived from the rigorous methods associated with SEO.

If you find a listing twice on a page you can be more confident that the site has fared well with the search engine.

SEM strategies are designed to improve the overall impression marketing of your business. By pushing into SEM programs like AdWords you can begin to take advantage of helping search engine users find your site more quickly.

The significant growth of SEM strategies is an indicator that this marketing tactic is proving effective and apparently profitable for many businesses.

My recommendation is still to utilize as many SEO strategies as possible to achieve the best 'free' result, but using SEM for temporary visibility maybe especially helpful in getting new businesses noticed much sooner.
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