Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising.[1] SEM may incorporate search engine optimization (SEO), which adjusts or rewrites website content and site architecture to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages to enhance pay per click (PPC) listings

"Search Engine Marketing" was once was used as an umbrella term to encompass both SEO (search engine optimization) and paid search activities. Over time, the industry has adopted the SEM acronym to refer solely to paid search.

At Search Engine Land, we generally use SEM and/or "Paid Search" to refer to paid listings, with the longer term of search marketing used to encompass both SEO and SEM. Below are some of the most common terms also used to refer to SEM activities

  • Paid search ads
  • Paid search advertising
  • PPC (pay-per-click) *
  • PPC (pay-per-call) – some ads, particularly those served to mobile search users, may be charged by the number of clicks that resulted in a direct call from a smartphone.
  • CPC (cost-per-click) *
  • Most search ads are sold on a CPC / PPC basis, but some advertising options may also be sold on a CPM basis.
  • Internet marketing
  • Dynamic keyword insertion
  • Search engine reputation management
  • Search engine optimization
  • Web marketing

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