What is Search Engine Marketing?

By QuickBooks Canada Team

1 min read

Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a form of online advertising that lets business owners bid on keywords related to their products or services in hopes of gaining better placement in search engine result pages.

The practise is sometimes referred to as “paid search” because it allows website owners to pay for search engine traffic. Pay-per-click campaigns, or PPC platforms such as Google AdWords, are the most common form of search engine marketing, but the term also includes cost-per-click options, such as AdSense, and paid advertisements on websites and search engines.

Search engine marketing is often confused with search engine optimization, or SEO. Both techniques involve keywords and phrases, but search engine optimization is not a form of advertising. Instead, it focuses on creating a search-friendly website that naturally ranks high in organic, nonadvertisement listings. Together, search engine marketing and search engine optimization form an excellent foundation for an effective lean marketing strategy to promote your products.

Both are easy to track, monitor, and adjust to stay ahead of the competition, and SEM costs are flexible enough to accommodate any budget. Websites that rank high in organic results establish trust and credibility, while paid search results significantly increase your visibility and visitor traffic. Businesses of all sizes and industries use search engine marketing to increase traffic and sales. It is the most common type of online advertising, and consistently named as the most effective.

References & Resources

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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