Beginner’s SEM Tutorial to learn A to Z of Search Engine Marketing

9 Min Read. |

I have composed this post to satiate all your quest to find an SEM Tutorial that can help you learn Search Engine Marketing, understand the difference between SEM and SEO and comprehend how PPC, AdWords, and SEM are interrelated.

In addition, I shall also guide you how you can get trained in SEM and become a certified Search Marketer, but, first of all, let us go through beneath given SEM Glossary to get aware of all the terms that are predominantly used in Search Engine Marketing.

SEM Glossary

Advertising Network

Networks where ads can be placed by advertisers and displayed on different Web sites via a contract with the company whose ads are being placed. The revenue generated by the company via those Ads is shared with the Network


The technology that is used by Search Engines to deliver results to Search Queries and decide the ranking of Search Results

Anchor Text

The clickable text part of hyperlinks to tell visitors and search engines about the important information concerning the linked page

Click through Rate (CTR)

The rate at which users click an ad. It is calculated by dividing total number of clicks with the total number of ad impressions that help advertisers measure the performance of Ads

Cost per Action (CPA)

Cost that an advertiser pays to the publisher for an action that a user performs on that Ad and the action could be signup, a follow up call, or making a purchase

Cost per Click (CPC)

An advertising model in which advertiser pays a fix amount of money for every click on an ad. It is also known as PPC and most of the text Ads sold by Search Engines work via CPC model

Cost per Thousand (CPM)

Cost that an Advertiser pays for every time an ad is displayed to a user, does not matter the user clicks on the ad or not. This fee is based upon every 1,000 Ad impressions and most of banner ads follow this model


The delivery of ads as per the geographic location of the searcher


Used for crawling and indexing content in the search engine, as it describes all Google spiders. For instance, Googlebot-Mobile will crawl pages for the mobile index of Google

Inbound link

A hyperlink to any page from any external site that brings traffic to that page, which also helps in deciding the popularity of a particular page

Invisible web

Vast amount of information on the web that Search Engines do not index


A word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine so Search Engine can return the matching and relevant results

Link Building

The process via which quality Web sites link to your Web site, so that the Search Engine Ranking of your site can improve

Meta Tags

Title, Description and Keyword Tags come under Meta Tags and they are placed in the HTML header of a Web page to provide information. It helps Search Engines to index a page

Pay per Click (PPC)

Same as CPC and understood as the fee that you pay for a Click on your Ad

Quality Score

A score that Search Engines give a site or Ad by measuring click-through rate, landing page, keyword performance and other important factors

Search Advertising

Paid Search in which advertisers bid so their Ads can be displayed by Search Engines when a user searches for a given keyword

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

A process of building and marketing a site to improve its position in search engine results via Paid and Unpaid marketing methodologies

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process that makes a site and its content highly relevant for both search engines and searchers and optimize positioning of a Site for relevant keywords and phrases via Organic methodologies

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

The page searchers see because of the query they type in Search Engine’s Search Box


Crawls the Web and visits the Web pages for collecting information that can be added on Search Engine’s Index. Also known as Bot or Crawler

Title Tag

An HTML Meta tag that includes text for describing a Web page. It contains strategic keywords for the page as Search Engines pay heed upon the title tags while indexing page

Universal Search

Pulls data from variety of databases and displays them on the same page. The universal search results include images, texts and videos from some of the specialty databases such as maps and local information, news stories and product information

Web 2.0

Deals with second generation of Internet-based services that include tools to let people collaborate and share information online on different social networking sites

Now, as you are well aware of all SEM terms, the next thing that this SEM tutorial will talk about is the difference between SEO and SEM, which will automatically define what SEM is and how it works.

Difference between SEO and SEM

With the evolution of marketing, the language that marketers use also evolves. Different terms and their acronyms are quite popular in the Digital World but this often confuses beginners or customers. Two of such terms are SEO and SEM.

SEM Tutorial

Difference between SEO and

According to Search Engine Land-

Search Engine Optimization is the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial or natural search results on search engines.
Search Engine Marketing is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is made up of on-page and off-page tactics. Let us unfold them-

On-page SEO Tactics

According to SEM Tutorial, different On-Page SEO Tactics include Optimized Metadata such as page title tag, heading tags, Meta description, image ALT tag that should also include target keywords. Well-written and optimized page copy that comprises the focus keywords and secondary keywords along with simple and well-formatted page URLs with focus keyword are also notable On Page SEO Tactics. Optimized page speed and Social sharing integration within your content are On-Page SEO Tactics that SEM Tutorial always recommends to include.

Off-page SEO Tactics

Search Engine Marketing Tutorials talks about Link building to attract and obtain quality inbound links (aka “backlinks”) as some of the best off page SEO Tactics. Majority of Off Page Seo revolves around link building, plus, Social Signals, and attracting attention from a variety of social bookmarking sites such as Stumbleupon, Digg and Reddit are also important Off-Page SEO Tactics.

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Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM helps search marketers earn search visibility by using paid advertisements on search engines. Commonly SEM Ads are considered as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and that is why, SEM is also called as Paid Search Marketing, Cost-per-click (CPC) ads, Paid Search Advertising and Paid Search Ads.

Paid Search Marketing or SEM lets you target potential buyers via relevant ad copy and keywords. All the paid ads show up in the SERPs next to organic listings that will give your company the chances to increase the visibility of its landing pages, web pages, blog articles and so forth.

Examples of SEM Activities

Google AdWords is one of the most popular and reliable platforms for hosting paid ads and some of the key SEM activities that you can do via this platform is Launching ad campaigns for targeting Specific Audiences, Creating ad groups that comprise the target keyword variations, Setting on Ad Budget, etc. SEM Tutorial also talks about writing relevant ad copy using selective keywords, Monitoring metrics like clicks, click through rates, impressions, and average cost-per-click as important SEM activities.

Which one is better- SEO or SEM?

  • Experts in SEM may consider SEM better while advocates of SEO would argue that SEO is more effective than the SEM. If you ask me then both are equally significant. Effective SEO is must for high-quality SEM because SEO lays the foundation for result driven Search Engine Marketing via its well-optimized content that helps target audiences and establishes a relationship with them. Your landing pages, blog content and web pages should be optimized for SERPs, as this ensures the needed visibility for your brand products and services that empower SEM to be more effective.
  • Organic SEO is also less costly but it does not show the immediate results. While on the other hand, with SEM you can get immediate results, but building organic credibility via SEO is must to generate leads for SEM ads. Therefore, SEM tutorial suggests evaluating the kind of campaign you are planning to run and what kind of output you expect before finalizing the use of SEM or SEO Campaign. The immaculate inclusion of both of these practices is important to ensure long-term profits and sustainability.

Understand SEM, PPC, and AdWords in Nutshell

Functioning of SEM revolves around adept integration and channelization of PPC and AdWords. In PPC, the advertiser is needed to pay a certain price to the publisher when their ads get clicked to drive online traffic to their websites. This SEM Tutorial will take you through what is PPC and help you understand PPC and Search Engine Advertising.

PPC Ad and Search Engine Advertising

SEM Tutorial


PPC lets advertisers run Ads on publisher’s website to promote their business via ads and in returns; the publisher would get a fixed price by advertisers when any prospects click on PPC ads. PPC is considered as a Pull Type of Marketing that buys user visits to a website from the advertising platforms. SEM is the common PPC advertising used by the advertisers across the globe by bidding for placement of ads in sponsored links of a search engine. When searchers search for a keyword related to advertisers’ products and services, the PPC Ads are shown to them.

Entities Involved in PPC Advertising

SEM Tutorial

PPC Ad Entities

  • Product Seller
  • PPC Marketer
  • Landing Page
  • Landing Page Provider
  • The viewer or the Visitor

General Formula for Calculating PPC

According to SEM Tutorial, the basic formula for calculating PPC is–

Pay per click ($) = Advertising cost ($) ÷ Number of ad clicks

What is Google AdWords

SEM Tutorial

Google AdWords Example

Google AdWords is an advertising platform that connects prospects or potential buyers who are searching for a product or a service to the Ads that offer the same kinds of products and services. Google AdWords enables advertisers to promote and advertise their product or service to the most relevant target audiences. Google AdWords is one of top platforms to run PPC Ads and according to SEM Tutorial, more than 95 percent of annual revenue of Google comes from Google AdWords.

Various Ad Formats Available in Google AdWords are

  • Text Ads
  • Image Ads
  • Responsive Ads
  • Shopping Ads
  • Call Only Ads

Learn here how to run Ads on Google AdWords.

Be a Pro-Search Marketer Now!

As discussed above, SEM helps advertisers target their audiences via paid Ads in the most conversion-oriented and result-driven manner possible. The next thing that you should do is join a Search Engine Marketing Course that includes SEM Tutorial with practical assignments and projects.

This will also help you become an AdWords Certified Search Marketer.

An SEM Tutorial Step by Step includes-

  • Search Engine Marketing Overview
  • Pay-per-click overview
  • Strategizing PPC campaigns
  • Market Analysis
  • Ad writing Techniques
  • Campaign Management
  • Bid Management Plan
  • Effective Landing Pages
  • Performance Tracking
  • Decipher User Psychology
  • Reporting & Analysis
  • Testing
  • SEM Management (Other Opportunities)

On the concluding note, what do you expect to learn from an SEM Tutorial? – Share your doubts in comments below.

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  1. Abhishek Verma

    Thanks for this huge and brief Tutorial of SEM. This will help a lot of beginners.
    Thanks again.

  2. Chandan

    Thanks! It will help us to make the strategy for our first campaign.


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