September 14, 2022 Joshua Ruskin

SEM: What You Need to Know

On October 23, 2000, Google introduced AdWords, which revolutionized marketing. Brands spent millions on influencing consumer behavior. They didn’t have to because they could deliver their advertisements to people who were already looking for products similar to theirs using AdWords’ search-based ads. If you offered tennis shoes, all you would need to do is target people seeking them with advertising and charge you just when someone clicks on one of them. SEM, or search engine marketing, was created.

The foundations of SEM haven’t changed much since 2000, even if Google Ads has replaced AdWords, and it is still a fantastic marketing tool for many firms.

What is Search Engine Marketing or SEM?

It might not be easy to pinpoint exactly what SEM, or search engine marketing, entails because definitions vary depending on who you ask.

The collection of tools, methods, and tactics used in search engine marketing (SEM) helps improve the exposure of websites and online pages through search engines. In a nutshell, SEM’s objective is to improve one’s position in Google and other comparable search engines.

Google search pages and other websites often display two kinds of results:

  • Organic results: The search engine employs an algorithm to choose which results to display based on which websites are most likely relevant to a given query. Google’s algorithm is based on authority and relevance (web content) (links from other pages). SEO is a collection of methods and resources used to place organic listings (Search Engine Optimization).
  • Paid results: The advertiser must pay for each click, unlike organic listings. You must use search engine advertising services like Google Adverts to purchase visitors by placing ads in search engines. This approach is called CPC or PPC (pay per click) (cost per click).

Both SEO strategies and search engine advertising are included in search engine marketing. However, most marketers only use the term “SEM” to refer to paid results or search engine advertising. 


SEM marketing uses paid search advertising more frequently than SEO does.

While SEO, which involves optimizing your content for search queries, is a more natural way to increase visibility.

But the real debate isn’t between SEO and SEM; they perform close teamwork together.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, helps your website rank higher in Google’s organic search results by taking certain actions known as organic SEO.

Google employs an algorithm to identify which website can best respond to a search, for example, “How to make an offer on the house.”

It then assigns a ranking to the pages or pertinent material based on how certain the page can provide an answer.

Google wants you to find your desired results on page 1 of search results.

SEO is about placing your website so that Google recognizes it as the most appropriate resource to respond to the query.

Google considers a variety of factors to decide this, such as:

  • The speed of your website
  • Whether individuals click if they come across you in search results,
  • how visitors engage with your website. Do they click other pages? Do they linger for a while?
  • How comprehensive the response seems to be
  • They want to know that other people regard your website with confidence.

Looking at the number of high-quality connections from other reputable websites is one of the key ways Google evaluates whether you are trustworthy (backlinks).

SEM Fundamentals

You are now prepared to study SEM fundamentals because you know what SEM is and how it differs from SEO. You may learn more about SEM search engine marketing and its operation by reading the following information.


The term “SEM platform” often refers to a search engine platform where you can place search advertisements if you browse through the SEM resources. The platform will show your ads whenever a user enters a relevant keyword or phrase.

Two SEM platforms are frequently used: Google, which is run and owned by Google Inc., and Bing, which is run and controlled by Microsoft.

Given that Google is the most widely used search engine platform, it makes sense that the Google Ads platform would also be the most widely used. With more than 3.5 billion daily searches, Google offers you a special chance to show your adverts to the online community with the most users. Even Google AdWords has a specialized tool to assist you in streamlining your SEM campaigns.


If you work in online marketing, you frequently come across the term “keyword.” The precise terms or phrases used in your SEM campaigns are known as keywords in the SEM context. All platform search queries containing the keywords you’ve chosen to target will produce SERPs with your paid advertisements at the top of the page.

Consider that you wish to promote your new email marketing platform and are in the email marketing niche. When someone searches for the term “email marketing platform,” your advertisement will appear in the search results.

When it comes to selecting and avoiding certain keywords, you have full control. There are four different kinds of keywords. To achieve the best results from your campaigns, you can utilize any mix, anyone, or even all of them. These are the different kinds of keywords you can use:

  • Broad match keywords
    • You can target these keyword variations in addition to your main keyword. It’s a fantastic method for dealing with the distinctiveness of natural user search queries. Some users use the plural form or make spelling errors when searching.
    • Broad match keywords allow you to target other variations, such as “mail marketing platforms” and “email advertising platforms,” in addition to just email marketing.
  • Broad match modifiers
    • Using these modifiers, you can serve your advertisement to users of the words you’ve marked with a plus sign. Email marketing is cost-effective for small businesses, and you may increase CTR and draw in highly qualified leads to your website with the help of the modifiers.
  • Phrase match keywords
    • With the help of these keywords, you may broaden your targeting to include both your identical phrase and terms that occur before or after it. Quote, marks are used to denote the phrase match keywords. Match keywords would be “the greatest email marketing platform” or “email marketing platform for small business” if we stick with our sample phrase.
  • Exact match keywords
    • By using exact-match keywords, you can broaden your targeting to include synonyms or terms that are conceptually similar to your main keyword target. Here, you can focus on keyword alternatives such as abbreviations and words in a different order. With brackets, the exact match terms are identified. As an illustration, you can target (” and ([platforms for email marketing]).
  • Negative keywords
    • You can also fine-tune your campaign using the SEM platform, blocking the keywords you don’t want to target. Some search terms can have semantic ties to your chosen keyword.
    • Users could, however, have opposite intentions. You can target folks who aren’t interested in buying your goods or services with negative keywords to show them your adverts. “Email marketing platform guide” or “email marketing platform costs” are examples of negative keywords that apply to our scenario.

Account Structure

The SEM campaign organization is subject to several regulations. The term “account structure” describes how all of your SEM campaigns are set up. The account structure is the same for every SEM campaign, and you can configure the targeting and keywords within the designated categories. The account structure includes campaigns, Ad Groups, Keywords, and ads.


The SEM campaign organization is subject to a few rules. Account structure is a technique in which all your SEM campaigns are set up. The same account structure underlies each SEM campaign. The targeting and keywords can be configured only within the designated categories. The account structure includes campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ads.

Ad Groups

The next level of the account structure hierarchy is “Ad Groups.” There are ad groups in a campaign, and if you target users with various intentions, you may arrange your SEM ads better with ad groups. Ten “Ad Groups” or fewer are advised for each campaign.

Keywords and Ads

Lastly, each “Ad Group” may have a distinct set of advertising and keywords intended to target particular consumers. There shouldn’t be more than three ads and 20 keywords in one “Ad Group.”

Ad Copies

What a platform offers customers who employ targeted keywords is ad copy. You’ll see that top results frequently include an “Ad” tag if you look at search result pages.

The advertising typically has an identical appearance to organic search results, and they do, however, offer more details. Google, for instance, offers product carousels as an ad type for companies looking to promote single products.

A detailed examination of the ad copy anatomy reveals that each ad text is divided into numerous components (from top to bottom):

  • URL: You may use it to put a link that directs customers to the product they wish to purchase.
  • Headline: The most prominent part of an advertisement. With a vertical pipe between each headline, Google lets you have up to three. Depending on the device, different headlines will appear.
  • Description: In the description box, you can include information about your goods or services. You should also include a call to action.
  • Site extensions with a short description: Add more links to your website with a brief explanation to make it easier for visitors to get to particular pages.

You can also include the following details in your ad copy:

  • Callout extensions – Add more text to your callouts to provide your clients with information about your company or its items, and they are frequently utilized to emphasize special bargains.
  • Seller ratings (Shopping ads) – communicate the quality of your services and products to instill trust and boost click-through rates.
  • Price extensions – To give your ads more value, let users know what products and services you offer and how much they cost.
  • Structured snippet extensions – To make it easier for consumers to learn more about your goods or services, add more text underneath your ad description.
  • Message extensions – Include a link in your advertisement to allow customers to contact you directly.

Ad Auction

There are no guarantees that the platform will always decide to show your ad when a user searches for pertinent phrases once you set up and launch an SEM campaign.

The market is crowded, and there’s a good likelihood that other companies are aiming for the same search terms as you are. An algorithm used by SEM platforms determines whether to display your ad after evaluating how it compares with those of other businesses targeting the same phrase.

The future of your ad content is determined by this algorithm, which is called “Ad Auction,” by considering the following three variables:

  • Max CPC Bid: The greatest amount you are willing to spend if someone clicks on your advertisement is the maximum cost-per-click bid. Your odds of having your ad displayed increase with your willingness to pay. However, the effects on your SEM budget might be catastrophic. Your funding will quickly run out if many people click on your advertisement.
  • Quality Score: The platform will evaluate your ad as soon as you create it and give it a special Quality Score. Although we are unaware of the exact methodology used by platforms to determine the Quality Score, the most important variables are probably the relevance of the keywords, click-through rate, and ad performance. The quality ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10.
  • Ad Rank: Finally, the platform will award an Ad Rating to your ad using the formula MAX CPC Bid x Quality Score. If more than one ad is chosen for display, the platform might choose where to display your ad by using Ad Rating.


SEM is a very broad subject to discuss, and this is the beginning of our discussion.

This digital marketing tactic might pay off if your business needs some initial momentum.

Combine SEO and SEM. SEM campaigns cannot be run indefinitely, so you require a reliable backup.

Regarding SEM, you should also consider two other factors: cost and strategies. Make sure you strategize the campaign’s implementation, plan, and establish a clear goal.