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What are the 3 Types of Search Engine Marketing?

With the ever-increasing competition in the business world, companies are leaving no stone unturned to seek the attention of prospective and existing customers. For all businesses, product or service promotion is among the topmost priorities as it can accelerate the growth of the business. Online advertising also plays a crucial role in this regard and requires investment. This is where the different types of Search Engine Marketing or SEM can be the game-changer.

What are the 3 Types of Search Engine Marketing

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the practice of promoting products or services through paid advertising that displays on search engine result pages (SERPs).  The goal of SEM is to increase the visibility of your business.

It aims to ensure that if an online user makes a search on Google or other search engines regarding the information on similar business aspects, then your business advertisement should also appear alongside the search results.

SEM tries to take advantage of the psychology of online users who are inclined to make a purchase the moment they visualize relevant ads. It tries to make a powerful impact on the user’s mind.

SEM is thus a very powerful method that can be employed to meet business targets. Online users conduct searches about services or products by typing keywords on search engines like Google or Bing.

Selection of any one of the types of Search Engine Marketing will have to be done in the backdrop of the business advertising budget, the need to create brand awareness, and the urgency to make sales conversions. You can gain in-depth knowledge on SEO and SEM practices from industry experts by enrolling in the best Digital Marketing Master Course.

How does SEM Differ from SEO?

As we have discussed above, Search Engine Marketing is a strategy of paid advertising wherein businesses pay certain search engines to improve their online visibility in the form of ads on search engine result pages.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, on the other hand, is a strategy to get appropriate content on the result pages based on the search criteria, which is the keyword. Here there is no payment to be made to the search engines.

SEO and SEM go hand in hand to mark a successful online advertising strategy. We often come across the jargon – marketing funnel when we talk about marketing. The marketing funnel refers to the journey your customer might undertake on the way to purchase.

The top of the marketing funnel represents potential customers or prospects in the brand awareness-building stage. At this stage, the prospects are in search of products satisfying their criteria.

The bottom of the funnel refers to potential customers in the product purchasing stage. Here the prospect is seriously considering purchasing with a little persuasion, that is, they are approaching the conversion stage.

SEO helps in concentrating traffic at the top of the funnel, while different types of Search Engine Marketing ads help to trigger conversions at the bottom of the funnel.

Learn more about the differences between SEO and SEM.

Types of Search Engine Marketing

The following are the popular types of Search Engine Marketing:

  • Pay per Click (PPC)
  • Local SEO
  • Organic SEO

Read about Google Digital Marketing Courses 

A brief overview of the different types of Search Engine Marketing is given below:

1.  Pay Per Click (PPC) 

In the Pay Per Click way of online advertising, whenever the user clicks on their online advertisement, the advertiser gets charged for that click. It is also known as Sponsored Ads or Sponsored Search.

One of the common types of PPC ads is the Paid Search ad that gets displayed along with commercial search results. Commercial searches serve as triggers for pay-per-click ads. Display advertising, especially banner ads and remarketing are also part of PPC advertising.

The Pay-Per-Click Advertising Mechanism

You may think that by paying more money, advertisers could get their ads displayed more frequently than their competitors.  This is a grossly misconceived notion. Fortunately, the ads are displayed as per the concept of Ad Auction. Most search engines implement this automated system to ensure that ads displayed on the search engine result pages are valid and relevant.

Ad Auction is an automated bidding system based on complex algorithms.  To be considered for this auction, advertisers identify and bid on the search keywords that should activate the display of their advertisements alongside the search results.

They also have to specify the maximum bid amount that they agree to pay for a click on the ad.  Having a higher advertising investment will help to bid for most in-demand keywords but that might not assure the visibility of your ads.

For example, if an online user is looking out for disinfectants, phenyl, brooms, or mops, he might use the keyword ‘cleaning solutions ‘on his search engine page.  Now suppose you deal in cleaning solutions. You would want your business ad to be displayed to him when he is looking out for retailers supplying the same.

Working of Ad Auction

In case the user enters any keyword in his Search query, which the advertiser has bid for, those ads will also be entered into the Ad Auction. Ad auction algorithms consider a lot of factors in deciding on the placement and display of appropriate ads from amongst multiple advertisers.

As PPC ads involve money at each click, selecting the best-suited keywords is of utmost importance to the advertiser. In this way, you control the online ad campaign budget but reap more benefits from this advertising expenditure in terms of visibility and increased sales.

Many tools can help you to find and select the most appropriate keywords that will bring in results as well as reduce advertising costs. Google AdWords and Bing Ads are some of the prominent PPC Tools.

The PPC ads are displayed on the top and bottom sections of the result page. Google uses ‘Ad’ or ‘Sponsored’ labels to display them. Trigger points are defined for certain search queries and advertisements to be displayed are composed accordingly. The ads start getting displayed in the SERP once they are configured, scheduled, and budget is allocated for them.

Google, using specific metrics, computes a Quality Score that rates the quality and commercial intent of your keywords and PPC ads. Cost per click (CPC) is computed using this score. Quality Score, along with the maximum bid amount, then determines your ad rank in this entire process.

Ad Rank is calculated as

Ad Rank = Maximum Bid Amount * Quality Score.

The importance of Quality Score is seen in its ability to influence the Ad Rank.  So with higher quality score and lower bid amount, your ad can gain priority by placement in the top bracket depending on the usefulness of your ad to the users.

Benefits of PPC Advertising

  • Paid ads are quickly displayed and easily noticed during online searches.
  • Helps you to specifically target an audience based on geographic location, language, etc.
  • Helps you to study, analyze and modify your online advertising strategy with the aid of Google Analytics to improve the effectiveness.

Disadvantages of PPC Advertising

  • PPC Ads are quite expensive
  • About 70% of online users while using the search facility, skip paid advertisements
  • Setting up effective ad campaigns takes time and most businesses tend to avail services of Ad specialists
  • PPC Ads less reliable compared to other SEM types
  • To improve Quality Scores, most inexperienced advertisers end up bidding higher
  • The moment payment stops, ads will not be visible

Pay per click is the most effective among the types of Search Engine Marketing. If you desire quick results, have a time-sensitive product offering, or want to divert the online prospect to a sales page, then go for the PPC model.

2. Local SEO

Amongst the types of Search Engine Marketing, local search engine optimization has a geographic aspect. Local SEO is an SEO strategy that aims to get your business listing in Google Map results.

Local SEO targets to increase the visibility of businesses within a certain geographic area. Here clicks are not charged. Optimizing your business presence online for queries fired by the local audience, in other words, implies ensuring people can locate your business online as well as offline.

Local SEO encompasses claiming a business listing, ensuring its appearance in Google Map results, online review and rating management, social media engagements, adding location pages, and beyond.

Local search results appear towards the middle section of the search engine result pages and are indicated with a map. To get local search results, the query should include locally found business categories like “dental clinic“ or “grocery store”. It takes around 1-8 months to find your business displayed in the local search results.

This again is subject to many factors like competition. Factors that can impact the positioning of your business in local search results include accurate and complete business listing, relevant business category, the proximity of the online user to the geographical location of your business,  updating online directories and citations, number and quality of online reviews, mobile-friendly website, etc.

Benefits of Local SEO

  • Local Search Results prominently feature because of map
  • They are mostly accessed on mobile devices, GPS devices, and online directories
  • They are considered more reliable because of  their first-page positioning and stringent address requirements and reviews
  • Limited competition

Disadvantages of Local SEO

  • Local SEO does not guarantee immediate visibility to your business in SERP
  • It is not always displayed
  • Geographic location limits your business visibility
  • Privacy is compromised if you want to feature in local search results as publicizing business addresses guarantees better ad ranking

3. Organic SEO

Organic SEO differs from the other types of Search Engine Marketing. Organic SEO aims at displaying your business on the organic search, non-local and unpaid results using short strategies like keyword research, link building, etc.

There is no local intent involved in the search query. The search is generic and not limited by geographic location. Here again, clicks to your site are not charged.

Organic search results lie between paid search results. Sometimes if any local search results are displayed then the organic search results appear below them. They appear as traditional blue links or non-traditional knowledge graphs or featured snippets.

Recommended Read: Top SEO Trends to Ace SERP Rankings

Every search query prompts in addition to paid results, a certain number of organic results as well. You can view your content in search results within 4-6 months based on the quality of your SEO efforts, competition, etc.

  • While search engines like Google aim to obtain the best-suited results for users, organic SEO focuses on website and content creation that is worth ranking. For gaining top ranking, you must implement organic SEO strategies. These include strategies related to the following factors:
  • Content Creation: Creating a variety of engaging, high-quality content to gain maximum visits, links, and reviews, which can boost ranking. Including multimedia content like video, infographics and tagged images enhance the aesthetic value of the content and engage the audience.
  • Keyword Research: Researching for keywords and implementing them in your content increases the chances of figuring in search results.
  • Internal Linking: Adding Internal links lead to different pages within your website.
  • Website Architecture: Focussing on various aspects of a website like structure, design, layout, navigability, minimization of page loading time to make your website aesthetically appealing with ease of use and navigation and reduce bounce rate.
  • Backlinks: Earning backlinks to our website pages from outside domains is an indicator of the noteworthiness of our content and helps improve the ranking of our website.

Explore quality content creation with Content Writing Course conducted by experienced faculty. These strategies help to enhance chances of being considered by the search engine algorithms so that your website articles rank higher in the result pages.

Benefits of Organic SEO

  • These results are more reliable and are pursued most.
  • Cost-effective strategies for creating brand awareness and gaining Internet exposure.

Disadvantages of Organic SEO

  • Needs constant SEO efforts.
  • Ad hoc algorithm updates will impact the nature of the results.
  • Efforts may not deliver results immediately and might take a long time – several months.
  • Intense competition for appearing on page 1 as there is an upper limit of 10 blue links as organic search results.

From the above overview, you can see that the three types of Search Engine Marketing differ in the following aspects:

  • The trigger point for display of your business content  on the search result pages
  • Timing as to when your business content starts appearing in the result pages
  • Important factors that influence the ranking of your content on page 1

Overview on Keywords

Keywords are the phrases that a user enters into the search engine to find related information on the internet. So keywords form the basis of search engine marketing campaigns.

SEM Keyword Research

Before embarking on an SEM campaign, you need to finalize the keywords that will form the foundation for the campaigns. Your keyword management strategy should include thorough research on keywords.  For this, you should type in a term related to your business in some Keyword Search Tool.

The tool provides a list of keyword suggestions which you need to evaluate. The tool also provides additional information regarding each keyword in terms of search volume and general competitiveness.

Some of the Keyword Research Tools include WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool, Google Keyword Planner,Google Trends, Answer the Public, Ubersuggest, etc.

Comprehensive keyword research will also help you to identify negative keywords. Negative keywords are irrelevant words that will not have a positive impact on your marketing campaign.

For example, if you sell fast food, it is wise to not include ‘ fast food recipes’ as a keyword for your campaign.  It is quite obvious that those who are seeking fast food recipes do not intend to buy them.

We have mentioned commercial intent in an earlier section of this article. Commercial or search intent refers to the likelihood of the online searcher making a purchase. Keywords with high commercial content include buy, free shipping, discount, coupon, etc.

SEM Tools

Search Engine Marketing is a strategy to increase the visibility of a website or business content using advertising and search optimization techniques. Search Engine Marketing activities include marketing campaigns using competitive keywords, devising ads for different scenarios, and tracking key metrics.

SEM promotes high website traffic by creating or rewriting ads with relevant and competitive keywords. This becomes a visibly arduous task. SEM tools help you to carry out these activities efficiently.  These include

  • SEMrush
  • Google Ads Keyword Planner
  • Google Trends
  • WordStream Keyword Tool
  • Bing Ads Editor
  • Supermetrics

An efficient SEM toolset will assist you to manage core areas of a marketing campaign like competitive research, keyword research, Ad copy, landing pages, and reporting and help you to achieve a better ROI.

Courses from IIM SKILLS

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why is it important to use Search Engine Marketing?

The various types of Search Engineering Marketing help you to generate better website traffic as well as increase brand awareness. A higher ranking of your product or service offering will increase the likelihood of revisits to your website or social mentions and can result in conversions to actual sales.

Q2. Is there any difference between local SEO and organic SEO?

Yes, organic SEO and local SEO differ from each other. Local SEO includes a geographical element. As local intent is involved, local search results are from the immediate locality.

On the other hand, organic SEO tries to obtain search results through a combination of SEO techniques like superior quality content, keyword research, image tagging, and backlinking, etc.

Q3.Who is an SEM consultant?

The Search Engine Marketing (SEM) consultant is a specialist who handles all paid search marketing campaigns on Google, Bing, and other such search engines.

Final Thoughts on types of search engine marketing

This article provides an overview of SEM and the various types of Search Engine Marketing. By now, you are convinced that SEM is the way forward to divert qualified traffic to your business website. Based on your advertising budget and the competition involved, you can start devising an SEM strategy for your business.

After careful evaluation of the pros and cons of the various types of Search Engine Marketing, depending on your business scenario, you may choose the one that suits you best.

You can begin with keyword research using one of the tools mentioned above and finalize keywords for your campaign. Wherever possible, you can attempt to use a combination of the types of Search Engine Marketing to gain beneficial results for your business. So get started today.


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