What is Search Engine Marketing or SEM?

Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, falls under the Search Marketing umbrella along with SEO. To put it simply, SEM is a way to buy traffic. You pay for ads that appear in the search engine's results, which puts your business in front of people who are searching for information, products and/or services that are in line with your ads' targeted terms. Sounds pretty great, doesn't it? Well, SEM can be awesome, if you know what you're doing. If you don't, it can be a pretty costly way to drive a whole lot of tire kickers - not paying customers - to your website.

When it comes to digital marketing, whether you're doing SEM, SEO, email newsletters or any other type, the key to achieving the results you want and need is to either be an expert in the online marketing field, or to hire someone who is. But, first, here's a brief outline of what SEM entails and how it can be used effectively to bring your business new leads and sales.

Adding SEM to Your Digital Marketing Mix

Learning the lingo and what the various SEM tactics entail should be your first step:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC):
you pay a fee each time someone clicks one of your ads
Pay-Per-Call (PPC):
for ads that are directed to mobile users, you pay a fee each time one of your ads was clicked and led to a call from a smartphone
Cost-Per-Click (CPC):
just another term referring to the same concept as PPC
Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions:
some ads are sold on a cost-per-thousand impressions basis

Where Google AdWords is King

In the SEM realm, Google AdWords is the most popular channel for paid search. Choosing the best platform for your online marketing needs, however, does come down to a few factors, like your business' brand, your SEM budget, and your target market. How would you like your brand to be perceived? How much are you able to spend? Where is it that your target market usually hangs out or is likely to see your ads? All of these things should be considered when selecting an SEM platform.

There is an art and science to using SEM effectively. You've got to be up to speed in the latest SEM trends and know which search terms to target and where. If you're ready to learn more about SEM and how it can be a highly effective tactic in your online marketing strategy, get in touch with us.

About Angie Saltman

I'm President and Visionary Lead at Saltmedia.  Hi! I’m a big ideas person with an extensive technical and creative background. Together with my fantastic team, we bring great ideas to life. Let’s put our heads together and create some success!

We love building great websites and creating effective marketing strategies. Let’s spice up your online presence today!
Proudly Métis owned

Office Address

#101, 10418 99 Ave
Grande Prairie, AB
T8V 0S3

Mailing Address

PO Box 23072 GP
AB, T8V 6X2

Saltmedia Inc operates on the traditional territory of Treaty 8 in what is now known as Grande Prairie. We value the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit who lived and cared for this land long before Canada was founded, and we recognize that it is a privilege to operate our business here.


Our Prince George site operates on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh.


We are grateful to the Elders and Knowledge Keepers who are with us today, and those who’ve gone before us.

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