Know What is Search Engine Marketing & How it Works in 5 Steps

10 Min Read. |

With the advancement in the marketing landscape and the emergence of Digital Marketing, a constant question about what is Search Engine Marketing is revolving around various advertisers and marketers.

We have come up with this post to answer this very particular question about what is Search Engine Marketing.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) aids businesses to gain market online by purchasing Ads on search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. The SEM practices revolve around the promotion of websites in SERPs to optimize the brand presence and conversions.

SEM utilizes paid and unpaid advertising means to optimize the promotion of online businesses, and we especially created this What is Search Engine Marketing Guide to help you understand how both ‘paid & unpaid means’ work under the umbrella term Search Engine Marketing.

Eighty-five percent of retailers surveyed said search marketing (including paid and SEO) was the most effective customer acquisition tactic

Without any further ado, I will take you through below given five steps that will guide you know What is Search Engine Marketing and how it works in 5 Simple Steps. So let us directly delve into those-

5 Steps To Understand Search Engine Marketing

1. What Is Search Engine Marketing | Definition

According to Search Engine Land,

“Search marketing is the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid efforts.”

SEM encompasses SEO & Paid Advertising in which SEO is the practices of earning traffic through unpaid or free listings while Paid Advertising is buying traffic through paid search listings.

Paid search ads help marketers get more web traffic via desktop or mobile web search.

What is Search Engine Marketing

What is Search Engine Marketing

To understand what is Search Engine Marketing, it is important to understand both paid and unpaid means of Search Marketing. SEM is one of the best ways to use competitive cost per acquisition techniques to draw in new customers, improve ranking in SERPs, boost Search Engine presence, and optimize other marketing campaigns.

The primary aid of Search Engines is to deliver exactly what a searcher is looking for, and SEM assists businesses to influence Search Engines to display their Ads to searchers.

To understand what is Search Engine Marketing, you should understand below-given factors upon which SEM Depends-

  • Understanding the target audience
  • Setting specific goals for the Ad campaign
  • Selecting the right keywords to target
  • Arranging those keywords into focused campaigns and ad groups
  • Creating compelling advertisements
  • Guiding traffic to a landing page, which delivers the right information and is optimized to convert

2. Know The Synonyms & Acronyms Related To SEM

Next thing to know while learning what is Search Engine Marketing is, to be clear about different synonyms and acronyms related to SEM, as this may create many perplexities for the beginners.

Actually, at the very beginning of Search Marketing the term ‘SEM’ was an umbrella term for Search Engine Optimization and Paid Search Activities, but over the time, SEM solely refers to paid search.

Below given is the list of some of the synonyms and acronyms that most of the ‘What is Search Engine Marketing Guides’ use to demonstrate SEM-

  • Paid search ads
  • Paid search advertising
  • PPC (pay-per-click)
  • PPC (pay-per-call)
  • CPC (cost-per-click
  • CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions)

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3. Learn How To Get Organic & Inorganic Traffic Via Unpaid SEM

The reason why I thought to write this ‘What is Search Engine Marketing Guide’ is to clear the confusion about different layers incorporated under Search Marketing. We started this article by giving a glimpse of Unpaid and Paid SEM, and now the time has come to clear the air about this.

Earning traffic via unpaid or free search listings comes under Search Engine Optimization methods. The unpaid SEM i.e. SEO can also be further divided into two separate categories-

  1. Organic SEO
  2. Inorganic SEO

How To Get Organic Results

To get organic results by SEO, it is important to learn SEO so you can create SEO compatible website that helps you build long-lasting trust in your business.

You should know how to use White Hat SEO Tactics for SEO rank improvements. Websites, which are optimized for search engines and focus on relevancy and organic ranking, are optimized via White Hat SEO techniques.

Some of the notable White Hat SEO practices are-

  • Offering quality content and services and making your site easy to navigate
  • Fast site loading times and mobile-friendliness
  • Using descriptive, keyword-rich meta tags

How To Get Inorganic Results

You can get inorganic results by improving your quality score and using your bids for keywords and Ads. While organic results may take time, inorganic results are known for highlighting immediate results.

However, In-organic SEO is also sometimes considered as Paid SEM or PPC.

Below given are some of the notable tips for inorganic SEO−

  • You need to mine keywords properly and then you should group them into relevant themes
  • You should use correct match types
  • You should estimate bid on all match types and they should choose the most benefiting one
  • You should continuously test your Ad Copies and landing pages
  • You need to strive constantly for improving CTR
  • You must aim for a better quality score
  • You have to target relevant locations and should always look for places that seem to give your business
  • You should run a Search Query Report to filter prominent keywords
  • You should bid higher on most searched keywords
  • You must calculate and strategize SEO methods to achieve better ROI

4. Learn How To Earn Traffic Via Paid SEM i.e. PPC

PPC or Paid Search Engine Marketing assist you to implement an Online Advertising System that drives online traffic to your websites and for that, you need to pay a certain price to the publisher when your PPC ad is clicked.

Different entities incorporated in PPC advertising are-

What is Search Engine Marketing

Entities incorporated in PPC Advertising

  1. Product Seller
  2. PPC Marketer
  3. Landing Page
  4. Landing Page Provider
  5. The viewer or the Visitor

The general formula to calculate PPC is- Pay per click ($) = Advertising cost ($) ÷ Number of ad clicks

The success of a PPC campaign depends upon how well-written, effective, convincing, and concise your Google AdWords Ad copy is. To run PPC AdWords campaign, you need to follow below-given steps-

Steps To Run AdWords PPC Campaign-

To know what is Search Engine Marketing, it is important to practice below given 4 steps-

  1. Know the elements of PPC Ads that are important to frame any AdWords Ad. Elements of a PPC Ad are-
What is Search Engine Marketing

Elements of a PPC Ad

  • Headline
  • Display URL
  • Description Line 1 and 2
  1. Identify your True Competitors and let your users know seller’s Assets, USPs, and Your Credentials
  2. Create an effective CTA and write your Ad Copy
  3. Add Extensions, repeat keywords on landing pages, and conduct test

Read PPC Tutorial to learn how to run Google AdWords PPC Campaign in detail.

5. Know Steps Involved In Search Engine Marketing

What is Search Engine Marketing

Steps involved in SEM

Knowing the steps involved in Paid Search Engine Marketing is last but one of the most important points of any ‘What is Search Engine Marketing Guide’. To run an SEM campaign, below given seven steps play an important role, so let us dig into those-

(I) Define An Effective Search Marketing Strategy

What is Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing Strategy

  • You should define your target audience and identify their needs and motivations
  • You should also know how your particular product or service could be best to serve their needs
  • You should review the market position of your business and identify your competitors
  • Now you need to identify important goals and benchmarks suggested by best ‘What is Search Engine Marketing Guides’ and they are search ranking, website traffic, sales, and other important ROI metrics

(II) Select Right Keywords For Your SEM Campaign

  • Next step according to ‘What is Search Engine Marketing Guide’ is to select the relevant keyword phrases, plus, you should also go for the keywords that your target audiences frequently search for
  • You should conduct brainstorm sessions to know the popular terms that your audiences use while searching for the kind of product and services that you offer
  • You should constantly interact with your best customer, sales and customer service teams to find out the frequently used phrases
  • You can also use keyword research tools for compiling a list of highly searched keyword terms

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(III) Optimize The Content Of Your Website

What is Search Engine Marketing

Optimize Website Content

  • To optimize your site content for SERPs, it is important to focus on your site structure and should make it simple and search engine friendly
  • The important suggestions that What is Search Engine Marketing Guides give about site optimization is every marketer needs to understand that search engines look for the underlying code of sites while visiting your website
  • You should always go for precise, crisp, interesting, clear, and correct content that can engage your users
  • It is very important to use relevant keyword phrases in pages title tags, directory names, heading tags, file names, meta tags, and alt tags
  • You must pay heed upon your Meta description, which is shown in the search results below your link and offer a great opportunity for you to draw in visitors to your Website

(IV) Submit Your Site For Indexing

  • Next thing that you should do is submit your site for indexing as this lets your site be visible online to the customers
  • You need to let all your site pages get indexed by the search engines. To quicken the process, you can submit your site to which is an open directory project
  • Websites that are accepted by DMOZ get easy approval from other search engines

(V) Add Quality Links To Your Website

  • According to ‘What is Search Engine Marketing Guides’, this one is one of the most important steps and marketers have to build links to their site from valued links of other sites that your targeted visitors frequently visit
  • Having quality inbound links is directly proportional to the popularity of your site in the eyes of search engines
  • It is also important here to create site content that is link-worthy, and for this, you need to create engaging and informative content on your site
  • You should also try to get links from business partners, trade associations, vendors and customers
  • Distributing press releases and articles online is also one of the important Search Engine Marketing strategies suggested by ‘What is Search Engine Marketing Guides’

(VI) Manage Paid Search Advertise To Optimize Your SEM Practices

  • As per ‘What is Search Engine Marketing’,  Paid Search Engine Marketing is one of the integral parts of today’s Search Marketing
  • You should bid on the most relevant keywords, plus, you should also make sure that your products are interesting for your potential customers
  • To run a PPC campaign, you need to pay heed upon the following checklist-
  1. Budget per Month
  2. Budget per Day
  3. Scope of Geotargeting
  4. List of Keywords
  5. A Ready Ad Copy that includes- Heading of ad (25 char), Description Line 1 (35 char), Description Line 2 (35 char), Display URL (35 char), Destination URL (1024 char), Landing Page URL, Design of landing page ready/not ready, Image required (if any), etc.

(VII) Measure Success Of Advertising Campaigns

  • Measuring the success of your campaign is one of the most important Search Engine Marketing strategies advised by ‘What is Search Engine Marketing Guides’
  • To measure the success of your SEM campaign, you need to gauge CPC, Clicks, CPR, Impressions, Bounce rate, ROI, etc.
  • You should use Web Analytics for monitoring progress and problems of Search Engine Marketing Strategies
  • You should always Monitor your position in SERPs and plan strategies for improving your search results

Ready To Be A Certified Search Marketer?

Aforestated 5 steps will help you understand what is Search Engine Marketing in the most comprehensive way possible, but to be a certified Search Marketer, it is must that you go through the practical perplexities of SEM.

Search Engine Marketing Training takes you through the needed research-based internship, which incorporates Hands-on Projects and Assignments, Live Instructor-led Sessions and Govt. of India Certified Course and provide you Search Engine Marketing Certification.

Google and HubSpot Inbound Search Engine Marketing certifications are also offered.

What SEM Practices you want to master and get Search Engine Marketing Certification via SEM Course- Update me in comments.

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  1. Shubham Gupta

    Simply awesome post.

    • Niharika Mahendra

      Hi Shubham,

      Thanks for the appreciation.


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