Search Engine Marketing (SEM) For Beginners

Published by Algorithmic Global on

Posted by Kate Castel

In my last post, I wrote about search engine optimization (SEO), and the key takeaway was to remember it as unpaid traffic.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the process of using paid advertising or paid traffic to make websites appear within search engine results pages (SERPs).

SEM is the next step companies need to optimize after SEO, especially when they want a website to show up on the first page of the Google search network.

Below is an example of the difference between SEO and SEM on the SERP page.

Algorithmic Global digital marketing project

SEO and SEM are both used to make a site appear on the first page of search results, but paid ads are typically located before the SERP fold, while unpaid ads fall below the SERP fold.

How Does SEM Work?

Did you know that Google owns almost 80 percent of the U.S. market for search-ad revenue? 

Google ads appear on the search results page, through a process called bidding, think of this process as an auction. The higher the bid, the higher the chances a company will show up at the top of the SERP page.

 Google will then choose which ads to display, and how often to show them depending on the bids and the relevance of the ads. 

Companies have a better chance of appearing more often on the search results page under two conditions:

  1. The bid is higher than the competitions
  2. The ad is relevant and meets all Google requirements

The Importance of SEM

  1. Targeted reach: Paid search lets you narrow down a target market as accurately as possible. You can target your ads by device, location, time of day, stage in the purchasing funnel, and more.
  2. Faster growth: SEO is vital, but it’s a long-term approach. SEM boosts your growth significantly in the initial stages of business development, so you don’t have to struggle for months or years to see results.
  3. Accurate metrics tracking: Every SEM strategy is measurable. You can see what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly to make your reach more effective.


SEM may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s a valuable strategy that can boost your business, especially when it’s coupled with effective SEO practices.




Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: