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What is Search Marketing (SEM)?

Search Marketing is a phrase that has originated with the popularity of Search engines and opportunities available to businesses to market their product through these channels.

This form of marketing is also known as SEM which stands for Search Engine Marketing. Search Engines bring many opportunities, here we briefly cover the following ways of which companies/advertisers can appear on the search engines as part of their online marketing strategy:

Organic listings - company websites being displayed organically in the left hand side results

PPC sponsored listings - advertiser bid for a position so that their text ad will appear (right hand side)

Paid Inclusion: Most search engines except Google offer this. It can take months for your website to be found, by paid inclusion it can reduce the time to 2 weeks.

Organic - Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation or SEO aims to index and improve rankings for the webpages which are most relevant to the keywords searched for, according to the algorithm of each search engine. The relevant pages are returned in search engine results pages (SERPS). It is important to remember that genuine search engine optimizers are basically marketers who keep their target market in mind as much as the search engine algorithms. But it doesn't stop here, the inbound links are also very important, these are links that point to the website from external sources, these are also known as back links.

This process is known as Organic or Algorithmic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of websites. Search engine optimization does take a considerable amount of time and, as such, many sites make use of Pay-per-Click (PPC) to market their website without having to wait for the results of Organic SEO. However, organic search results can get viewed and clicked on frequently (being the main area of a search engine), so a dual online marketing strategy of SEO and PPC can provide more exposure than either strategy alone.

Pay per click (PPC) and Search engine advertising

Advertising with search engines is known by many different names. It is also called sponsored search and search engine advertising. The most popular programs are offered by Google called Adwords, Yahoo! (YSM), and Microsoft AdCentre. Some offer PPC, where the advertiser is only charged when a user clicks on the ad, also known as Cost Per Click (CPC). Others use a Cost Per Impression (CPM) model where advertisers are charged for impressions. Ads can take many forms, including text, banner ads, video ads, map ads, and now even audio ads.

Paid inclusion - Organic Listings

Search engines use computer programs called spiders or web crawlers to automatically discover websites and catalog their content. As this process can take some time and requires a website to be linked to from another website (to allow the crawler to find it), most search engines except for Google provide another channel to be included in search rankings via paying. This is different from pay per click advertising because the inclusion is guaranteed but not placement.

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