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Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Definition - What does Search Engine Marketing (SEM) mean?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a process by which multiple methods are utilized to improve market visibility and exposure for a brand, product or service.

SEM mechanisms include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social networking, bid placement, pay-per-click (PPC), contextual advertising, paid inclusion, geomapping, AdSense and AdWords, as well as multiple media formats, such as YouTube and geospecific marketing, like Foursquare.

Techopedia explains Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing tools include

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Maximizes search result exposure by targeting and driving Web traffic and ultimately delivering increased sales. The majority of search engine page results come from unpaid or organic search. SEO optimizes websites to ensure top search engine placement, such as Google, as only 15 percent of searchers continue beyond page one.
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM): Focuses on branding, reputation enhancement and enhanced customer service via social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Smaller SMM channels include Digg, Delicious, Wikipedia, StumbleUpon and MySpace. Social networks are visited by a collective total of over one-billion people. Thus, even the simplest marketing efforts, like paid advertising, reach potentially large audiences.
  • Paid Search: Examples of paid search include sponsored links, banner and sidebar ads, where contextually generated ads are based on organic search results.

SEM is represented by the following sectors:

  • Consultancy/marketing services: 12 percent
  • Retail: 10 percent
  • Financial services (including insurance): 8 percent
  • IT, software and education: 70 percent

SEM increases Web activity in the following ways:

  • Engaging users
  • Driving traffic
  • Enhancing brand awareness and reputation
  • Increasing search engine result pages (SERP)
  • Selling products or services
  • Generating leads
  • Providing content for research purposes
  • Increases conversion rates
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