SEM: Tips, Benefits, & How It Relates to SEO

Posted on July 28th, 2021

What is Search Engine Marketing and How it Can Benefit You?

When it comes to SEM, many people and marketers alike are confused about how it differs from SEO. Differentiating between the two can be difficult as both marketing methods are focused on generating traffic from search engines like Google, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Etc. However, both SEO and sem have different strategies, that working together will drive the best results. 


So what exactly is search engine marketing, and why should you create an SEM campaign? Let's dive into the differences between search engine marketing versus search engine optimization and how to get started combining both strategies. 



What is SEM?


Search engine marketing is the use of paid ads supported by organic efforts to reach target audiences on search engines. All paid advertising on any individual search engine is considered to be under the SEM umbrella. Many people refer to these types of ads as PPC ads or paid search ads, and these ads work by targeting a specific audience through the keywords they are searching for.


You may have recently made a search on your computer for a product or service you are searching for and noticed that many of the top results showed up with text next to them denoting them as ads. These digital ads are an essential part of search engine marketing and differentiate SEM from purely organic tactics. 


However, paid ads are only one pillar in an SEM campaign as the term has evolved to include additional strategies and efforts. Most SEM strategies now are a combination of optimized digital ads and SEO work. 


How is SEM different from SEO?


It can be confusing to differentiate between SEM and SEO as they both have the same end goal and may often include similar tactics or strategies. But, while SEO focuses purely on organic rankings and traffic, SEM consists of a paid approach to reach potential customers and often has a more holistic strategy.


In simple terms, search engine marketing includes paid advertising, and SEO includes organic efforts. Some of the paid advertising tactics employed for SEM include search ads, carousel ads, and local ads, while organic tactics focus on ranking on SERPs, map packs, and position zero. 


How SEO and SEM work together


While SEO and SEM both have different tactics, combining the tactics into one strategy will give you the best results. Creating one cohesive strategy can be done in many ways, some of which include targeting high-cost keywords in your SEO efforts versus with paid ads so that you can show up for more expensive searches for “free”. 


Another way to get the best of SEM and SEO combined is to incorporate valuable keywords into your PPC or Search ad copy so that the ads are identified as quality and stand out to searchers. These small optimizations can make your efforts consistent across the board and cut costs.


When you employ SEM tactics, like paid advertising, you don’t want to miss out on organic traffic that may also bring valuable results. Vice versa, only using organic methods may make it difficult to break into certain industries or topics. A combination of both is the best way to go!


Why You Need SEM


You may question why you need search engine marketing if you are already employing SEO tactics. For new businesses, ranking organically may take time, while using paid ads will get faster results that are still high-quality. While utilizing only SEM is not ideal, it may be a great way to reach customers you can't organically.


Search engine marketing is very useful when trying to reach specific target audiences since various targeting options like psychographic, demographic, and geographic filters are available when creating paid ads. The targeting used for SEM can make it easy to reach high-value customers, past customers, or test out different target groups.


How To Get Started With SEM

Now that you know how important search engine marketing is to include in your overall marketing strategy, let's dive into how to get started. Paid and can be run on multiple search engine platforms. Each search engine platform allows you to create an account to run your ads through, and each account is broken down by campaigns, ad groups, and ads. 


For each ad group that exists, there are multiple ads and keywords assigned to the ad group that target potential customers based on their searches. Depending on the kind of ads that you create, multiple optimizations can be made to ensure your ads are relevant and being shown to high-quality traffic. 


A great way to get started is to do some keyword research.  When doing keyword research working with the SEO team will help you optimize both strategies and create a cohesive marketing plan. 


So what are you waiting for? Start flexing your SEM and SEO muscles online by creating great ads and executing a valuable SEO strategy. If you don't know where to get started, contact a PPC agency like Target River to point you in the right direction and launch effective campaigns for you!




About Target River

Target River is a target marketing firm, backed by global buying power to deliver cost-efficient campaigns that deliver results. Our team utilizes on point targeting with pinpoint accuracy. We exist to delight our clients with campaigns that effectively target the right audience, reach that audience through the most cost-efficient tactics, and deliver the most relevant message. 

Target River was recently recognized as "Marketing Agency of the Year", "Best Target Marketing Company", and "Best Education Marketing Company"  in the United States. For further information, please contact brian@targetriver.com or call 619.571.7359. www.targetriver.com.