Search Engine Marketing (Online Marketing), also referred to as Search Marketing or SEM, is an important process for promoting your website and gaining online customers. Many companies now take online marketing very seriously as it has excellent potential for lead generation, increased sales, increased brand awareness and corporate visibility.
SEM is about using internet search engines and directories to deliver targeted high quality traffic to web sites. In these terms targeted traffic are potential customers.
Search engine marketing is a blend of two core techniques. One is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), the other is paid search or advertising.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves constructing and maintaining your website in a manner that will rank it highly on search engine results for the keywords that your customers would use to look for your business.
The aim is high search engine positioning otherwise known as search engine placement. SEO is also called natural search or free search because once your site has been optimised you don't need to pay for a search engine listing. If your site is well optimised you will be shown in the first pages of major search engines which will become a source of free leads to your website. Optimisation is not a one off process, to maintain and improve good search engine listings optimisation must be part of ongoing site maintenance and be reviewed regularly.
Paid search can be a quick and effective way of making your website visible in search engines and directories. Paid search has rapidly increased in popularity and is showing signs of incredible growth in the "marketing spend" for the foreseeable future. More and more companies are allocating increasing budgets to this relatively new marketing technique. Pay-Per-Click, or PPC as it commonly referred to as, is a mechanism by which companies can "buy" top positions in search engines.
As opposed to its free counterpart, pay per click (PPC) is an instant way of reaching your customers via the Internet. With PPC, you bid for keywords that you think your customers would enter in search engines to find your website. The position you obtain for your website or advertisement is based on a combination of the amount you bid for a position and the relevance of your advertisement to the search terms you choose to bid on. It is possible to achieve high positions by just being the highest bidder but incorporating into SEO into your strategy can greatly reduce your advertising spend.