Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves implementing an online marketing strategy in terms of your website's brand identity, in order to ensure that your website is visible on the internet especially in terms of SEO, PPC and other forms of internet marketing such as banner ad campaigns. Search Engine Marketing also involves managing your online reputation and a host of other online marketing initiatives. Essentially Search Engine Marketing equals online visibility for your brand.
In today's environment where dollars are tight, every dollar spent on advertising matters more than ever. Everything with paid search can be measured based on conversions (e.g. lead gen, sale) down to the ad and keyword levels so that you know exactly what's working and what's not performing.
Whether you want to reach potential clients in your own backyard or halfway across the world, you can target searchers down to their city level location (although that level of pay per click targeting works better in North America than other parts of the world). Choose to target a radius around a zip code, metro area, state, country, or add in regions of interest.
The levels of control over paid search with platforms like Google AdWords and Bing Ads are truly astonishing, giving you control over:
What keyword searches trigger your ad
Physical location of the searcher (geo targeting mentioned above)
Time of day
Day of week / season
Device type (e.g. computer vs. phone – and which type of phone)
Network (e.g. Google only or its Search or Display Networks)
Pay Per Action:
Paid search is commonly referred to as pay per click (PPC) advertising because the most common form of ad buy with paid search is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. We like to refer to traffic from paid search as "doubly targeted" because the person has to:
Type in something related to what you sell, and
Look at all the information on the screen before deciding to click on your ad because she or he expects it to provide the information she or he seeks.
The corollary of only paying when someone clicks on your ad in the pay per click model is that you get all the additional views of your ad and company name for free. This is just one reason that makes paid search particularly valuable for branding campaigns.
For all the reasons listed above and more, the single most important benefit of paid search engine marketing is just that it works. That's why U.S. advertisers spend more than $12 billion per year on paid search, including top advertisers spending more than $8 million per month on Google AdWords alone.