Search Engine Marketing

What is Search Engine Marketing?


Search Engine Marketing or SEM is the term for promoting websites by increasing their visibility in search engines like Bing, Google, or Yahoo. This can be done either with paid advertising, like is commonly seen at the top and in the sidebars of Google search engine results pages, or it can be done by getting free traffic.

There are only two kinds of ways to get visitors to your website: Either you pay for good placement in the search engines so that web users will notice you, or you show up for free on the internet because someone liked your site enough to link to one of your website pages.

Buying Paid Traffic

Just as you can buy an advertisement in the real world to get people to come to your business, in cyberspace, you can get traffic to your website by buying ads on the internet. You can purchase advertising on a website that has information of interest for your target audience, or buy Pay Per Click ads on search engines like Google or Yahoo. You can also register with online advertising agencies, and offer website owners the opportunity to earn a commission every time someone clicks on your ad which they have put on their website.

Suppose that you sell downloadable knitting patterns online, and you want to attract more visitors to your website. You could buy advertising on a website that sells yarn and knitting supplies.  You could also buy an ad on Google so that every time someone typed in “knitting patterns online,” your ad would appear. When a user clicks on your ad and ends up at your website, you pay Google a fee for that click — even if they don’t stay on your site and buy anything.

The cost per click (CPC) depends on how many other people want to bid for that ad space. Very popular keywords, like “dui attorney” can be very costly, often exceeding $50.00 per click. This is why you need to make sure that your website has engaging content if you are going to buy pay per click (PPC) advertising. If your site doesn’t have engaging content like a video or something else that grabs the viewer’s attention, your visitor will be gone in less than a minute — and so will the money that you paid for that click to get them there. CPC advertising is for the brave with deep pockets.

Search Engine Optimization: A Type of Search Engine Marketing

Another common form of search engine marketing is search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO involves customizing your website content to rank in the search engines for a particular search. Suppose, for example, that you are family law attorney, and you want to rank for the terms “child custody in Texas” and “pre-nuptial agreements,” you can include content on your page that uses those terms and discusses those subjects, so that when a website user types those terms into the Google search engine, your pages appear in the search results. This is commonly called “on-page SEO.”

Social Media as Part of a Search Engine Marketing Strategy

You can also use social media to get your product or service in front of prospective customers and  persuade your market that your product or service has value. You can produce sharable content that is of interest to your target market, or include others’ content — like a funny YouTube video — along with your content in the hopes that it will be shared by many people. This sharing is called “going viral” and it will disseminate the name of whatever product is attached to the viral content. If you want to get the word out about your new pet store, sharing a crazy cat video around to your Facebook fans might be a good way to accomplish that.

Serra Media helps businesses get exposure through whatever media is most appropriate for your business. We listen to your goals and tailor a marketing plan to fit you — there is no “one size fits all.” Tell us about your business, and let’s see if we’re a fit for you by clicking on the “Apply” button in the top menu bar, and we’ll schedule a time to talk about your search engine marketing opportunities.


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