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What Is SEM? With Practice Examples

Updated: May 15

Almost everyone has heard of SEO at some point. But have you heard about SEM? And most importantly, have you integrated it into your inbound marketing strategy?

SEM is short for search engine marketing. However, you should note that sometimes, people use search engine marketing to refer to SEO. So, what is SEM? It’s a way to make your page or products more visible by investing in paid search. Consider the example below:



Like those shown above, brands pay to appear in the search results. And to do this, they investigate the most searched keywords and then use those in their ads. From the example above, anyone searching for flights to Florida first sees the ads before seeing the organic results from SEO. That gives them an edge over the businesses that heavily rely on SEO.


Should You Use SEM?

SEM is an excellent way to:

  • Attract qualified leads: People clicking on SEM ads do so because they look for specific things, e.g., flights to Florida. Ergo, anyone clicking on the ad already is interested in what you have on offer.

  • Get international recognition: SEM visibility will help get your business out there if you want to target a global audience. Even if people do not click on the ad, they will register your presence.

  • Launch a marketing campaign on a low budget. Guess what? These brands only pay search engines based on the number of clicks. So, if 100 people click on the ad, they pay for 100 clicks.

  • Besides, the results from SEM are highly measurable, enabling you to gauge just how close you are to your KPIs.


To launch your SEM, start by figuring out your content marketing and inbound marketing strategies. Then learn the terminology that goes with SEM, including:

  • Keywords,

  • Search networks,

  • Text ads,

  • Clicks

  • CPCs,

  • CTRs, and

  • Ad groups.

Note the use of keywords? SEO is still vital in launching your SEM strategy.


Using the example above, can you gauge what the keywords are? Incorporating SEO in your SEM improves the chances of marketing success and helps you enjoy sustained and fast results from SEO and SEM, respectively.


Get your SEM strategy here.


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