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Resource Center > Article
Getting Started with SEM: Search Engine Marketing Basics 101
10 Jul 15 Posted by: Kevin James Culp
in Marketing & Sales
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You’ve got your SEO in place, or you’re making good progress with it. Now it’s time to turn your attention to SEM, search engine marketing. The two are closely related projects, but definitely separate.

For every online business opportunity, marketing requires a multi-pronged approach to be successful. That means making use of both SEO and SEM to build traffic.

What Is SEM?

Do you ever notice the small ads on the search engine results page? They are either to the right on your screen or above the results. These ads can attract a significant amount of traffic to your website if you do it right.

Every small business is on the constant lookout for more traffic. These small ads can produce big results, expanding your audience. They are an affordable way for a small business to attract more customers.

SEM and SEO

Both SEM and SEO are traffic getting processes that involve the search engines. The biggest difference between the two is that you pay for search engine marketing.

You can’t pay Google, Bing or Yahoo to rank higher. That is an effect of your efforts using keywords and setting up your website to appeal to the search engine algorithm.

On the other hand, SEM is a paid process. Using SEM, you build ads around a particular keyword. When someone is searching that word or phrase, your ad will pop up on the results page.

The Advantages of SEM

SEM is a boon for a small business trying to get the word out about their website. Here is at look at five benefits from this method of getting traffic to your website.

Pay for results. You don’t pay unless someone clicks the link from your ad to your website. You pay strictly based on results.

No waiting. With SEM, you get immediate results. That seldom happens with SEO, which is a long-term effort, taking several months to show noticeable results. Once you create your ad and arrange for payment, your ad goes live.

You, and potential customers, will see it on the search engine results page right away. You can literally start getting traffic within minutes.

Control. With SEM, you have full control over the advertising process. You can tweak it on the fly as you see what is getting the best results. You can bid different amounts for keywords depending on changes in traffic patterns during the week.

Manage your money. You can stay within your budget because you choose how much to bid when you set up the ad. You decide if you want to pay more for specific keywords at different times of the day or different days of the week, depending on results.

Building your brand. With SEM, you can focus on users who have visited your site in the past. As they browse on subsequent periods online, they will start seeing your ads in different places.

This process, called remarketing, exposes these prospects over and over again to your brand. The more often they see it, the greater the likelihood they will eventually buy from you. This is an excellent use of your advertising dollar because you know they are already interested in your product.

SEM is the natural progression of your efforts to get more customers from people using the search engines. SEO and SEM are both essential for a successful online business. SEO is slow to build and based on how well you configure your content and website. SEM is immediate and based on how much you pay.

Getting Started with SEM

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I had the pleasure of chatting with Shawn Pigg, CEO of Hotels Etc. for BusinessOpportunity.com's Podcast series that will be released very soon on our new Digital Platform.  Here is the transcript from that call for our regular RSS feed subscribers who get all of our posts first.

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