Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Many people use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) interchangeably. It needs to be understood that the two are different. The SEO can be a part of the Search Engine Marketing but not the other way round. One should also remember that Search Engine Marketing should just be a part of a bigger marketing plan, i.e., SEM should complement the marketing plan of the company and one should not rely solely on SEM to meet targets.
Contrary to the Search Engine Optimisation, which is a practice of optimising web pages so as to get higher rankings and visibility in the search engine result pages, Search Engine Marketing is the practice of promoting websites through advertising and paid placement or inclusions. Essentially, it is like conventional advertising where in the customer pays the media to carry their advertisements. The global search engines like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Ask run SEM programs. Regional search engines also have their own SEM programs but are limited to the region.
The Search Engine Marketing is a complex and different subject altogether and beyond the scope of this book. However, we will try to introduce the subject to some extent. As you must have realised by now that Search Engine Optimisation is not a quick fix to higher visibility, it takes time and effort to get to the top of the search engine listings and stay there. So if you have the need and the money to get there quickly, Search Engine Marketing provides the means to do so. There are many ways to enhance the visibility and reach of your website. Some of them are listed below.
Paid Inclusion in Search Engine Results Pages: Some search engine companies charge fees for inclusion of your website in their search index. These are also called sponsored listings and are displayed along with the organic search results. Charges may include only for inclusion of the website in the results or also for someone clicking on the link and landing on your page.
Search Advertising - In search advertising, advertisements are placed on the search result pages. These advertisements are placed based on the keyword or the search query so that the advertisement more often than not is relevant to the search query. This is also called targeted advertising. The costs involved could be based on any of the following methods:
• CPM - Cost per thousand impressions: You pay a set or may be a bid amount to the search engine per thousand impressions, i.e. the number of times pages containing your advertisement are displayed to visitors.
• CPC - Cost Per Click: In this method the advertiser pays the search engine for each visitor getting to their website by clicking on the advertisement displayed as part of the program.
Contextual Advertising - This is similar to the search advertising, with the difference that the advertisements can be placed on any of the pages that have opted to participate in the program. So if you go to a page of a particular website you might find advertisements related to the topic or keywords on that page. This kind of advertising is called contextual advertising.
In-text Advertising - In-text advertising is a form of contextual advertising with the difference that instead of placing advertisements in an earmarked space, the related keywords in the text are converted into hyperlinks, which when clicked on will take the Visitor to the advertisers website. In some cases, when the mouse is hovered over the in-text term, the advertisement is shown in a popup window. Payment for this kind of advertising is usually Pay-per-click. Kontera is an in-text advertising program.
In-Image advertising: This is similar to the in-text advertising. The difference is that the advertising is targeted based on the image details available. When the visitor hovers the mouse over an image, an overlay usually transparent appears on the image with the option of being closed. The visitor sees the advertisement and may want to check out the linking website.