Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Jargon Buster

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a comprehensive approach to digital marketing that combines both paid advertising (PPC) and organic optimisation (SEO) strategies.

While PPC offers immediate visibility on search engine results pages by showing users website links above organic results, SEO focuses on ranking your website as high as possible because although they sit under the paid results, there is still traffic to be won by appearing high on SERPs.

By utilising SEM, marketers can leverage paid and organic tactics to maximise their online presence effectively. Using both paid and organic marketing enables you to develop a well-rounded digital marketing strategy and increase your business’s visibility.

PPC vs. SEO: Understanding the Difference

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are two different strategies used in digital marketing.

PPC is a paid advertising model where advertisers bid on keywords and pay each time their ad is clicked. It provides immediate visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) by showing their link above the organic results.

On the other hand, SEO is the practice of optimising a website to improve its visibility and organic (unpaid) rankings on search engine results pages.

While PPC offers instant results and allows for precise targeting, it can be costly. Conversely, SEO takes time. It can be a long process building your website and content up to show at the top of search results but can provide long-term benefits and cost-effective traffic.

Below is an example of the SERP for the search term “family solicitor Manchester”

Search Engine Results Page Example


As you can see, the SERP has ‘sponsored’ links at the top. These are businesses that are using PPC to show above the organic results.

It’s also worth noting that the organic results are based on location and pull information from each business’s Google My Business profile.

The Difference Between SEM and SEO

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a broader term that encompasses both PPC and SEO.

SEM refers to any marketing efforts that involve search engines, including paid advertising (PPC) and organic optimisation (SEO).

While SEO focuses on improving organic rankings, SEM includes both paid and organic strategies to increase visibility on search engine results pages.

By understanding the difference between SEM and SEO, marketers can effectively utilise both strategies to maximise their online presence.

What are SERP Features?

SERP features are special elements that appear on search engine results pages, providing additional information and options for users.

Common SERP features include featured snippets, knowledge panels, local packs, image carousels, and more.

These features are designed to enhance the search experience and provide users with quick answers or relevant information without the need to click on a specific result.

Understanding SERP features and how they can impact search rankings is essential for optimising digital marketing efforts.

Key Performance Metrics (KPIs) and what they mean

Key Performance Metrics (KPIs) are measurable values that indicate the success of a digital marketing campaign.

Common KPIs in digital marketing include click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, bounce rate, cost per acquisition (CPA), return on investment (ROI), and more.

These metrics provide insights into the effectiveness of marketing efforts and help in making data-driven decisions.

Understanding KPIs and what they mean is crucial for tracking and optimising the performance of digital marketing campaigns.

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