Search Engine

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

At its most basic, we’re talking about pay-per-click campaigns and paid ads when we say search engine marketing. More accurately, SEM is defined as internet marketing targeted at increasing a business’s presence in search engine results pages (SERPs). Put those definitions together, and SEM primarily refers to paid ads on search engines and their partner platforms. You get the gist.

What’s the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

Search engine optimization consists of the technical and non-technical work that is implemented to organically rank web pages highly in SERPs. Technically, there’s no need to pay to rank highly in the organic rankings of SERPs if you have the know-how and time to optimize your site. Realistically, most business’s pay marketing agencies and SEO firms to manage the search engine optimization campaigns as it is unlikely a single person can address all the data points, algorithm changes, content update needs, backlinking, technical site corrections, and speed work required to rank highly in SERPs.

With search engine marketing, you’re paying a platform (ex. Google Ads) to advertise your website information in the SERPs, often in a manner that somewhat mimics organic rankings. For example, Google text ads look strikingly similar to organic Google SERP entries – see below:


Each of the above entries has a URL (web address), a title, and a description set up in relatively the same manner. As you can see, they look pretty much the same (save for a few ad extensions and site extensions specific to these entries). The primary difference is the semi-obvious bolded Ad text next to the Google Ad entry URL.

SEM allows businesses that would otherwise not appear on Google Page 1 to compete for traffic and clicks by paying-to-play. For newer domains and businesses without much immediate organic ranking potential, SEM is a viable and performant means of leapfrogging the clutter of entries beyond Page 1 to obtain some of the traffic that the 1st SERP of Google typically receives.

Without a decent knowledge of SERP components, many people will inadvertently perceive these ads as organic in nature, which can be beneficial since ads tend to display prominently in SERPs.

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Why is SEM Important?

Effective Marketing for Newer Businesses

There are a couple elements to search engine marketing that make it a favorable investment for businesses. One of the most readily apparent advantages to PPC or search engine marketing is the low barrier to entry. Regardless of how new your business is, you can achieve a significant return on investment with SEM as there’s no minimum threshold for how long your business has been operating to run ads.

Opportunity to Beat Big Budgets and National Brands

Additionally, you can compete with larger brands by creating high-quality ad copy. If your ads are better targeted and better written than your competitors, you can overcome their sizable ad budgets and win bids against them. SEM performance is tied to budget, but it’s not the only factor, and Google’s revenue and value is dependent on providing the most accurate information as quickly as possible to search users. That means there’s opportunity to outperform competitors with deep pockets and name brands by having better creative and implementing better campaign/ad group setups to better target the keywords that users might enter during search than your competitors.

The Anecdotal Advantage

Another benefit that we see with search engine marketing is improved organic rankings. I’m going to raise a flag of caution here as Google has expressly denied any organic ranking boosts stemming from PPC engagement via Google Ads. Speaking from what we’ve observe anecdotally, that’s not quite accurate,  and it makes sense that ads would help boost organic performance. When you run ads you drive additional, targeted traffic to your website. This traffic is often directed to a specific landing page that matches the subject of the ad that brought the visitor to your site. If the content matches what site visitors are looking for after clicking an ad, the bounce rate on the page should decrease and on-page user dwell times should increase, and while bounce rate doesn’t directly affect SEO, a low bounce rate with high dwell times indicates quality content to Google.

SEM Management by the Certified Professionals at SEO Idaho™

Unless you have the time to effectively research Google Ads and optimize your account routinely, it’s going to be better managed by certified professionals like the staff at SEO Idaho™.

When you retain SEM management services from the certified professionals at SEO Idaho™, you free up time that would otherwise be spent on digital marketing to focus on the management of your day-to-day business operations, which is where your attention should be.

We set up the account for you, handle the creative and ad copy, revise bid strategies to meet marketing objectives, optimize your account & reconcile keywords routinely, and otherwise implement work to increase traffic and conversions while decreasing cost-per metrics and overall spend.

Marketing your business is important and necessary for continued growth and increasing overall business revenue, but it can also be time-consuming and frustrating if you don’t have the requisite experience and knowledge. Save time, increase your business’s return on ad spend (ROAS), and grow your business by contracting with the experts of SEO Idaho™ to manage your search engine marketing endeavors.

At SEO Idaho, we recognize the value of SEM, and our goal is to create, manage, and optimize performant accounts that exceed current, average ROAS across all industries for Google Ads (200% as of 2020).

Level the playing field with your competitors and get your business seen by more people, more frequently, with SEM management services by Boise, Idaho’s best SEO firm and digital marketing agency, SEO Idaho™.

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