Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising. SEM may incorporate search engine optimization (SEO), which adjusts website content and site layout to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages to enhance pay per click (PPC) listings As the number of sites on the Web increased in the mid-to-late 1990s, search engines started appearing to help people find information quickly. Search engines developed business models to finance their services, such as pay per click programs offered by Open Text in 1996 and then Goto.com in 1998. Goto.com later changed its name to Overture in 2001, was purchased by Yahoo in 2003, and now offers paid search opportunities for advertisers through Yahoo Search Marketing. Google also began to offer advertisements on search results pages in 2000 through the Google AdWords program. By 2007, pay-per-click programs proved to be primary moneymakers for search engines. In a market dominated by Google, in 2009 Yahoo! and Microsoft announced the intention to forge an alliance. The Yahoo & Microsoft Search Alliance eventually received approval from regulators in the US and Europe in February 2010. SEM is a broader term than SEO. Where SEO aims to provide better organic search results, SEM helps you successfully target users of search engines via advertising links in search results in addition to organic search to send targeted traffic to your website.
Keywords: The king of Search Engine Marketing
Keywords are the foundation of search engine marketing. As users enter keywords (as part of search queries) into search engines to find what they’re looking for, it should come as little surprise that keywords form the basis of search engine marketing as an advertising strategy.
Before you can choose which keywords to use in your search engine marketing campaigns, you need to conduct comprehensive research as part of your keyword management strategy. First, you need to identify keywords that are relevant to your business and that prospective customers are likely to use when searching for your products and services. .
The SEM Ad Auction
One of the most enduring misconceptions about search engine marketing is that whoever has the largest advertising budget wins. Although a larger advertising budget can certainly be advantageous, especially when targeting highly competitive keywords, but it’s far from a requirement for success with search engine marketing. This is because all ads go through a process known as the ad auction before appearing alongside search results. For the purposes of this explanation, we’ll be focusing on the ad auction in Google AdWords.
Ad Auction In SEM
The ad auction process takes place every single time someone enters a search query into Google. To be entered into the ad auction, advertisers identify keywords they want to bid on, and state how much they are willing to spend to have their ads appear alongside results relating to those keywords. If Google determines that the keywords you have bid on are contained within a user’s search query, your ads are entered into the ad auction.
Winning The Ad Auction
Not every single ad will appear on every single search. This is because the ad auction takes a variety of factors into account when determining the placement of ads on the SERP, and because not every keyword has sufficient commercial intent to justify displaying ads next to results. However, the two main factors that Google evaluates as part of the ad auction process are your maximum bid and the quality score of your ads. Maximum bid is the maximum amount you have specified you are willing to pay for a click. Quality Score is based on the overall quality of your advertisement. Google calculates these metrics during the ad auction to determine placement of advertisements. The result of this calculation is known as ad rank.
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