What is Search Engine Marketing? Everything You Need to Know

Recent statistics show amazing ROI for being listed at the top of Google search results. In fact, the typical organic CTR (click-through rate) when you appear first on Google via a desktop device is 32%. Meanwhile, ranking at the top of Google on a mobile device, the typical CTR is 26.9%.

Now, do you realize how many pages there are online that get absolutely no Google organic search traffic? Are you sitting down for this? 90.63% of pages get no traffic! *Spits out coffee*

To avoid being missed on search results, you must first ask, “What is search engine marketing?”

Further, you will want to know how SEM works. Of all the digital marketing tools, if you can be successful with SEM, you could increase your sales so much that you will want to spend most of your marketing budget on improving your SEM strategy.

This is how you get to the top of that massive staircase that is search engines.  Cue the Rocky soundtrack.

Yes, it’s that powerful, and here’s why.

What Is Search Engine Marketing?

SEM is one of the digital marketing tools that professional marketers use to increase their visibility on SERPs, or search engine results pages. They use paid advertisements to get to the top of the search engine results.

SEM refers to PPC (pay per click) or paid search ads. Awesome! But wait, how does it work exactly?

How SEM Works

It’s a fundamental method of marketing businesses online, especially as the algorithms for search engines are increasingly more sophisticated.

If you want to reach the top of search engines to attract the most clicks, you must consider a well-planned strategy for paid search advertising.

With SEM, you pay for impressions. When a user clicks on your impression, you have a visitor going to your landing page. This is where people get the name “pay per click.”

Ideally, it is less “intrusive” to your target audience because you appear to them when they need the information you offer. People will type in a word or phrase in the search engine because that is what they want or need to know about at that moment.

You are getting in front of them at the right time. This is a way to attract high-quality traffic too, but only if you craft a solid SEM strategy. So, let's get crafty!

Creating an SEM Campaign

It begins with good keyword research. Paid advertisements could appear above organic search results. This is certainly a prominent placement, but only if you optimize your CPA.

Your paid advertisements need content that is relevant. It is nearly impossible to create an SEM campaign successfully if you do not do the research first. The idea behind the right keywords is to select ones that relate to the time someone will make a purchase.

You want to strike when the iron is hot, which is when they are ready to buy!

The Right Keywords

At the very center of all good SEM campaigns are quality keywords. This means performing sufficient research to find the right keywords, which gives you a successful paid ad strategy.

You may already have a strong SEO strategy, which kudos to you if you do!  It should work alongside your SEM strategy in this case. To do this, simply scan the keywords in your SEO strategy and choose which keywords you desire to pay for.

Benefits of SEM

If you are asking yourself, "What is search engine marketing?," this guide can help. Here is how you can use search engine marketing for your business. - little sandwich board with letters that say sem vs seo, its on a pink background - What is Search Engine Marketing? Everything You Need to Know - your wp guy

While there may be too many to name, here are the biggest benefits you will love. This is often a short-term strategy with the goal of creating instant results.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, needs time to achieve results.

SEM is much faster at reaching the top of the search results, right away. Who doesn’t love that feeling of  instant gratification!

Better Brand Awareness

If you choose to advertise with Google Search Ads, there are multiple ways to brand your company in your ad. You can include your company name and/or slogan in the headline, the description, or the display URL. Besides being at the top of search engines, your brand name will be top of mind too.


If you are asking yourself, "What is search engine marketing?," this guide can help. Here is how you can use search engine marketing for your business. - a woman standing in front of what I assume is the vatican, but could be any large ornate building, she looks like an influencer - What is Search Engine Marketing? Everything You Need to Know - your wp guy

SEM is a great way to control which locations see your ad. You may do much better with your SEM in New York rather than in California, so you want to make sure your budget allocates to the right geographical location.

Further, you can specify the language and the country, when attracting audiences internationally.

Even audiences from Spain?! Gracias Geo-Targets!

Manage Ads Quickly and Efficiently

Not only are they super simple to create, but you can also manage them easily too. You can set a schedule for each SEM campaign you have. Run and stop the ads any time you wish.

Plus, each campaign can have its own budget. You can also delegate their performance speed.

Increase Traffic

When you can select the right keywords and appear above organic search results, you are gaining more relevant traffic to your site. You must select the right budget, craft an appealing message, and optimize your bidding.

This will all drive better visibility. Lets face it, at the end of the day we all just want to feel seen.

Only Paying Per Click

Some media companies charge by CPM, which is the cost per every 1,000 impressions. What if you have 1,000 impressions and no clicks? You still pay the money. Ouch!

With SEM, you only pay when a viewer acts and clicks on your ad. Therefore, if there are no clicks, you still get free exposure for your brand while someone searching sees you at the top of their results.

In this economy, we definitely celebrate something that's Free!

Test and Measure

Even when you have a good plan, it is only a plan. Essentially, you are making an educated guess. You will not know your results until you run your campaign.

In the beginning, you are testing. Based on the results, you can adjust. Tweaking is how you will continue to increase your ROI. Even for a plan in progress, there is always room for improvement.

SEM, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Organic Search, Ad Campaigns

Why Is Search Engine Marketing Important to Your Small Business?

Search engine marketing is an essential tool for small business owners looking to increase their visibility and reach a larger online audience. By optimizing content according to search engines' algorithms, you can target specific keywords to drive organic search traffic and rank higher in results pages. This ensures that your customers are able to find your website more easily when searching for products or services related to the business. Additionally, utilizing search engine marketing techniques also enables you to expand your reach by reaching out to a broader customer base who may not have been aware of your brand before. 

Clicking on a Website That Is Fast and Works!

Now that you know what search engine marketing is, you are likely creating an SEM campaign, starting in your head. At this stage, you may wonder what good keywords you could use.

When someone clicks on your ad, you want to convert them to a sale. This means you need a website that is fast, secure and working, whether it's during business hours or while you sleep.

Contact us, Your WP Guy, for better monthly website maintenance or to talk through your SEM strategy. We will make sure your website is working and converting!

What is Search Engine Marketing? Everything You Need to Know Summary

• Recent statistics show impressive ROI for websites listed at the top of Google search results, with respective CTRs (click-through rates) of 32% and 26.9% for desktop and mobile devices.

• 90.63% of pages get no Google organic search traffic, highlighting the importance of effective search engine marketing (SEM).

• SEM is a digital marketing tool used to increase visibility on SERPs via paid advertisements such as PPC/paid search ads.

• Creating a successful SEM campaign begins with good keyword research, targeting keywords that relate to timely purchases.

• Benefits include better brand awareness, geo-targeting capabilities, quick and efficient management of campaigns, increased traffic, only paying per click while still receiving free exposure when there are no clicks, and ability to test/measure success & adjust accordingly.

• Ensure a high converting website by working with experts like us who provide fast & secure monthly website maintenance services.

What is Search Engine Marketing? Everything You Need to Know FAQs