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Search Engine Marketing: What, Where, How, and When

How Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing Double Boost Your Web Sales?The most common misconception amongst the marketing fraternity is they often forget Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two diverse marketing channels and use those words interchangeably. Both the strategies are typically used to reach the target audiences on reputed search engines like Google or Bing, but the purpose and implementation are quite different.

Search Engine Marketing What, Where, How, and When

While SEO is the most fundamental method for companies, including well-established brands, to drive massive organic traffic towards their website by increasing search visibility. Product/Service-based companies wouldn’t fare well if they don’t manage to find ways to integrate SEO with SEM effectively. 

Businesses need to grip both to be shown up for top queries on the search engine results page (SERPs). In addition, both are put together to form a larger digital strategy to achieve visibility, volumes, and conversions.

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What is Search Engine Marketing?

In the earlier days, SEM was a term used to describe both SEO and Paid marketing operations. But now, the term is exclusively used to describe Paid Campaigns. 

While SEO’s goal is to pursue organic traffic through optimization tactics, SEM comprises all the paid tactics the companies employ to accomplish enhanced visibility on the search engines and gain more mileage than their competitors. Hence, it is known by another term frequently – PPC marketing or Pay-Per-Click Marketing.

Normally marketers use several schemes to rank their websites organically. Even so, SEM utilizes PPC advertising platforms. These platforms allow the brands to create search ads and optimize them using the available ad formats and plant their search ads, so they are visible when users key in relevant queries in the search engines. In addition, brands can manage these accounts on the go to soar the conversion rate and business revenue.

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Popular Search Engine Marketing Platforms

  1. Google Ads – the best way to reach people as it is the largest available search engine.
  2. Bing Ads – this platform claims to have exclusive users who don’t use Google to perform searches regularly. They promote ads on partner sites MSN and Yahoo as well.

Some of the campaigns that companies could create are listed below.

● Text Ads/Search Ads

● Display Ads

● YouTube Ads

● Google Ads

● Shopping Ads, etc.

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So, how this works is when consumers make a search query that matches with the targeted ad keywords or queries for which a company is running an active campaign, the search engine would return the company’s PPC ad at the top of the SERPs. Whenever consumers click the PPC ad, the company pays a certain amount for this service to the advertising platform.

These ads always have a sign designating they are paid or sponsored ads to let users know what they are dealing with. In addition, some of the paid search ads may be presented as products in a featured carousel list.

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Search Engine Marketing Privileges

  1. SEO is a long-term strategy that doesn’t yield instant results. With SEM driving visitors to your webpage becomes a cakewalk. However, you may observe changes in the figures of conversion rate and installs within a short span.
  2. The added advantage of SEM is due to the heightened visibility; your web page begins to attract a lot of organic traffic and drive organic conversions. Hence, it is known by the term organic uplift in the marketing terminology.
  3. Easy to customize campaigns according to the user demographics and target audience preferences. You may also determine when the ads appear before an audience.
  4. It serves as a perfect channel for A/B testing. You may go ahead and discover which version of your webpage is performing better with the audience. Tweaking your web pages that resonate with the audience would help you connect with them.
  5. SEM must be your choice if you want to direct users to a particular sale like referral offer pages, flat discounts pages, flash sales pages, or limited period offers pages, etc.
  6. You could exploit this strategy to gain some momentum in quieter business seasons. It could be your best hope to do some business in rather slow-moving times.

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Search Engine Marketing Keywords

While creating an Ad campaign, businesses are allowed to choose a specific set of Keywords or Keyword Queries/Phrases for which they may show up as sponsored ads in the search results when a user performs a search on the web.

For instance, in your advertising campaign, your web page is about a weight loss product, and you have added words/queries like lose weight, inch loss, healthy weight reduction, weight loss food and diet, exercise, lose belly fat, etc. Whenever consumers are looking to lose weight, enter one of the keywords or related ones, your ad appears on their search screen.

Businesses can also select a list of keywords for which their sponsored ad shouldn’t appear. For instance, if you cater to South Indian Consumer-base, you may block the ad from appearing to people from any other part of India if they perform a search looking for a product of your niche. The type of keywords that you could incorporate in your campaigns is listed here.

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  • Broad match

The word indicates whenever a comprehensive list comprises variations of the target term like similar queries, singular/plural keywords, misspelled keywords, stemming words, synonyms, etc. Then, the search engine would display your ad for any of those mentioned keyword/keyphrase alterations.

Example: best inch loss product, lose belly fat in 30 days, inches loss, losing weight, weight loss nutrition, fat loss, weight loss supplements.

  • Phrase match

While performing this match, the search engine returns your ad for exact matches in phrases and various phrases that contain your key phrase as a prefix or suffix. 

Example: Diet and weight loss, inch loss treatment, inch loss without weight loss, tips to lose weight.

  • Exact match

These are keywords that are closely connected with your target keywords like misspelled words, singular/plural, acronyms, paraphrased queries, jumbled words, or words that share the same intention.

Example: WLS- Weight Loss Surgery, BMI – Body Mass Index, belly fat loss, weight management, etc.

  • Negative words

These are the keywords or phrases that you don’t intend to target. In addition, it includes the keywords apart from the target keywords that you don’t wish to use in your ad campaign. This set of words may be meaningfully related to your keywords but isn’t compatible with the user search intent, your campaign, and advertising copy.

Example: underweight problems, weight training, bone weight calculator, muscle weight gain, etc.

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Search Engine Marketing Remote Targeting

The essential purpose of ad campaigns is to target search ads to a narrow audience to maximize conversions. Therefore, it becomes necessary to display your ads for users looking for vendors who offer products or services similar to your business. The key point to remember is to probe for users who would likely do business with you.

SEM campaigns allow you to set a few parameters regarding when your ad needs to be displayed and to whom. We list some of the parameters here.


To target your ads for specific geographic locations or zip codes.

2. Ad schedule

You may use this feature to display ads at specific times of the day or during particular days of the week.

3. Demographic 

The ads are displayed only to a particular group/category of users based on age and gender.

4. Device

The targeted ads show up only for specific devices like smartphones, tablets, or desktops.

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Search Engine Marketing Ad Campaign Structure

We elaborate on the ad campaign structure in this section. You will learn how to organize and create campaigns. All you need to do is group themes and keywords relevant to your niche to start a campaign within your registered account.


Every campaign shares a distinct goal, budget, bidding strategy, and targeting settings as the topmost level within an account. You may also have options for group-related campaigns. This grouping may be based on the brand’s products/services/target audience/promotion type, etc. For instance, weight loss campaign for young adults and inch loss campaign for obese teenagers can be grouped under a single theme Youngsters.  

2. Ad groups

You may choose to create several ad groups under a single campaign. For instance, a campaign targeting young adults may have two ad groups:

Group 1: weight loss for young adults with health complications.

Group 2: weight loss for young adults who are studying.

3. Keywords

Every ad group would be having a definite set of target keywords and ads. For instance, 

Group 1: diabetes weight loss, lose weight thyroid, PCOD how to lose weight?

Group 2: weight loss diet, keto diet lose weight, protein food substitutes for fat loss, etc.

Search Engine Marketing: Advertising Copy

A paid ad copy emulates organic search results. At the same time, a few of the ads may also have options to share extra information. The components of a typical ad are two headlines, a description, and a URL leading to a website. However, there are elements you can add like –

● Location/Message/Price/Sitelink/Call/Callout/Structured Snippet Extensions

● Advertiser Ratings.

● Product carousel ad formats.

Search Engine Marketing: Ad Auction

Merely setting up an ad campaign doesn’t mean your Ad is going to go live. Your Ad doesn’t appear in user’s search results unless you set a bid and tell the platform how much you are ready to pay when a user clicks on your posted ad. Only your bidding cost will decide whether your Ad will be displayed or not and if displayed, it will happen as quickly as a flash.

Enhancing Search Engine Marketing Outcome

A powerful result-oriented campaign needs constant research, analysis, and improvement of the keywords that make up your campaign. You need to remember they are the building blocks that contribute to your campaign’s strength, and you need to work on them while setting up and when the campaigns are live and running.

You need to follow some standard rules to optimize your campaigns time and again to reach a huge number of users and drive more conversions. You may also need to reassess your budgets to welcome the desired outcome.

1. Keyword research

It is the foundational step, be it for SEO, SEM, or ASO. First, gather the most popular keywords relevant to your niche. They must have high search volumes and low search difficulty. Next, look for buying keywords that lead to purchases, your competitor keywords, keyword gaps, etc. Finally, find such words which promise a high return on investment.

2. Compelling Ad Campaigns

Come up with ad formats that entice users and compel them to click on your search ads. For example, you may use the following tactics to set up attractive ads.

● Implement keywords in the Ad Copy.

● Let the benefits or solutions you are offering to user pain points be as transparent as possible.

● Make your Ad Copy relevant, valuable, and coinciding with user search intent.

● Whenever applicable, include pricing and promotion details.

● Give one clear call-to-action

● Exploit Ad Extensions.

3.Maintain Alignment

Optimize your Ad Copy and Website landing pages to make them more reliable. Users will value your product/service when they find all they read in the advertisement on the landing pages.

4. Optimization of existing campaigns

The optimization process must continue after launching the campaign. First, revamp your keyword list, add a few new ones that you have discovered, remove those that didn’t work, and perform A/B testing to check which ad variation works better. Then, tweak your ad campaigns so that you maximize your ROIs.

Search Engine Optimization V/S Search Engine Marketing

We generally use the acronym SEO to include all the organic user acquisition operations to enhance visibility in the search results. The acronym SEM includes all the paid user acquisition operations to enhance visibility in the search results.

Similar Factors

Ultimately, the goal of both these strategies is to raise visibility, quality traffic, leads, and conversions. You may also use some retargeting campaigns. Then, tweak to retain existing consumers. They help you gain insights into users buying behavior and modify your activities accordingly. These techniques demand continuous optimization to catch up with current trends and the high market competition.

Contrasting Factors

● While organic search results aren’t marked, paid results are identified by words – Ads or Sponsored or Featured, etc.

● While you can use ad extensions for paid campaigns, you can’t use that for organic search results.

● The organic results can also rank for featured snippets completely free of cost, provided you provide high quality, well-structured, and organized content. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible for paid ads.

● You have more control over what appears in your search ad and how and when they are displayed with paid ads. The same isn’t possible with organic listings.

● The business that runs ad campaigns must pay when a user clicks on the ad; it is termed cost-per-click (CPC) or pays for every thousand impressions (CPM). 

● The business pays nothing for a click on an organic SEO listing.

● SEO is a long-term strategy, while SEM yields short-term results.

● SEO offers stable growth and fetches cumulative results. But SEM gets you results only as long as your ad campaigns are turned ON.

● SEM strategies can be tested easily compared to SEO as they target more contemporary markets.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What does SEM strategy mean?

SEM strategy implies optimizing ads and reaching a larger audience by enhancing the brand name’s visibility. It includes pain promotions.

2. Are SEO and SEM similar?

SEO is the process of optimizing your content based on Google Analytics, and it is an organic process. But SEM involves organic as well as paid promotions.

3. How to use SEM in marketing?

You can make your brand reach a larger audience by increasing their visibility through paid processes. It is called the SEM strategy.


The common goal is to raise the lifetime value of customers to keep them hooked to your business for a longer time. Therefore, it would be best to incorporate marketing techniques to chart out a sustained growth hypothesis. Even so, Search Engine Optimization is a must process that shouldn’t be ignored at any cost. You can manage Search Engine Marketing based on your affordability, resources available, and budget allocation. Exploit both of these to maximize your business’s return on investments.

Hi, this is Ashwini Prabhakar. I have previously worked as an Academic content writer. Currently, looking forward to branching out and explore opportunities in the content creation sector. Just started with my blog: thelyricalsquirrel, which I hope to carve out as my personal brand. My area of strength is creative writing.

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