What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Paid advertising on a search engine results page (SERP) is paid search. Search engine marketing (SEM) ads drive website traffic but can include other calls to action, such as making a phone call or visiting a local store. Keywords in a search query trigger SEM ads. They usually appear at the top of search results and sometimes to the side. Most SEM is pay-per-click (PPC), so you only get charged if someone clicks on the ad.


Let’s say a company that sells athletic shoes wants to increase its online visibility and attract more customers to its website. They decide to use SEM by creating Google Ads campaigns targeting keywords such as “running shoes,” “athletic footwear,” and “sports sneakers.”

When users search for these keywords on Google, the company’s ads appear at the top or bottom of the search results page. For example, if a user searches for “best-running shoes,” they may see an ad for the company’s running shoes at the top of the search results, along with organic search results.

The company pays for these ads based on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning they only pay when users click on their ads. By using SEM, the company can increase its website traffic, generate leads, and drive sales by reaching potential customers who are actively searching for products related to their business.

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