Search engine marketing, often abbreviated as SEM, is the name given to the variety of online marketing tactics used by businesses to market to users via a search engine, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. Recent research by Forrester indicates that 71% of consumers begin the buying journey by performing research on a search engine. Another recent study shows that less than 10% of users ever go beyond the first page of search results.
The goal of SEM is driving qualified traffic to your website for specific keywords that relate to what you sell. There are two primary ways to get on the first page of Google. The first is to earn your way on the first page naturally by getting your website to appear in the “organic” search results, which is commonly referred to as SEO or search engine optimization. The second is the pay to have your website appear via sponsored search listing, which is referred to as PPC or pay-per-click because advertisers are charged each time a user clicks on their ads.