What is SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and how it relates to SEO

What is SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and how it relates to SEO

When you have a question, and the people around you can’t answer it, what is your favorite source of information?

If you answered Google or any other internet search engine, be it Bing, Yahoo!, YouTube, know that you are accompanied by a large portion of the world population.

In this scenario, SEM (Search Engine Marketing), a set of techniques that aims to use these engines for promotion on the Internet, emerges.

In this article, we will explain the following points:

Keep reading and learn more!

What is SEM?

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) can be described as any marketing strategy based on search engines. Such a strategy can be used to spread business online or offline and promote actions that happen virtually or physically.

SEM is divided into two parts. One is SEO, which aims to generate more organic traffic for a particular domain. And the other is the investment in sponsored links.

We are talking about the ads that are displayed on Google and other platforms. These materials involve strategies such as keyword searches and other techniques that are shared with SEO.

But they also involve the analysis of public segmentation and strategies more closely aligned with the purchase of traditional advertising media.

In short, SEM can be described as a kind of umbrella. Under it are inserted the SEO and other techniques that help the company be visible and well-positioned in major search engines.

Digital Marketing strategy will only be complete and well-developed if a quality investment and effort uses both dimensions.

Learn a little more about them below.

SEO — Search Engine Optimization

example of seo

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, gathers the strategies that involve the optimization of sites, blogs, and pages to rank well in search engines and, consequently, attract more visitors.

To make all this possible, SEO counts on a great ally: Content Marketing, which is based on creating relevant content pages for the buyer persona.

Thus, in addition to optimizations for search engines, which involve aspects of site structure, scannability, use of keywords, responsiveness, loading speed, and others, it is also necessary to produce text or other types of valuable materials.

It is worth mentioning that the investment in SEO techniques is critical, as studies show that 90% of people click on only one link among the results of their searches.

Other user behavior studies have also found that the first position in Google captures about one-third of clicks made in SERPs.

Let’s give an example: suppose you are working on the keyword “Content Marketing” in your strategy, and that this keyword has about 8,000 monthly searches.

One-third of this number, or approximately 2,666 clicks, will go to the page ranking first on Google. The rest of the clicks will be divided among the other results, with the first result having the overwhelming majority of total clicks.

Sponsored links — Paid media

example of paid links

Sponsored links are advertisements, i.e., they are part of a paid media tool. You have probably already performed a search and come across some ad results.

In Google, for example, they usually come before the organic results and in the sidebar.

To use this strategy, you must register on an ad platform, such as Google Ads or Bing Ads, and insert the card’s details on which the values will be debited.

This strategy generally charges per click, but more advanced techniques allow the optimization for conversions (sales) or impressions (ad views).

The system used to define which ad will be displayed works in the following way: each time a user searches for the advertised search term, Google will perform an auction.

Thus, it is necessary to define the maximum values you are willing to pay, considering factors such as competition and keyword relevance.

Why is SEM important?

There is no doubt that search engines make up a considerable portion of all traffic generated on the Internet.

To give you an idea, 2.3 million searches are performed on Google every second.

Thus, it is easy to imagine the potential of this tool when talking about business.

Search engines are, above all, information platforms and, as such, serve as a foundation for users’ questions.

Therefore, they encourage creating content on the web, bringing as much knowledge as possible to the Internet user.

On the other hand, being the largest online advertising platform in the world, Google is also recognized for its effective business model, which aims to generate profitability for the company’s continuous searches and offer a good user experience.

How to do Search Engine Marketing?

Some practices are recommended in Search Engine Marketing strategies. Below, you can check a few of them.

Using sponsored links

To elaborate a good sponsored links strategy, you will need to start with a good analysis of your product or your brand. One of the great advantages of internet ads is the fact that they allow detailed public targeting.

So, you should know well who you want to talk to. The ideal is to think about your buyer persona when setting up your ad in Google Ads or other ad platforms. 

From there, you will be able to elaborate an efficient communication strategy for that audience.

Sponsored links allow you to run campaigns for a very low cost. So, if you don’t have a robust budget yet, start with campaigns involving a small investment and go on testing what brings the best results.

Using SEO

SEO consists of two dimensions, called On-Page and Off-Page. See below what each one means.

On-Page SEO

Here we are talking about all the techniques that you apply within your own website or your page.

The production of quality content, a fast and optimized site for various platforms, the meta description of your post, and the URL you use are some examples of these actions.

Off-page SEO

The Off-Page SEO includes all the techniques that have to do with your site’s connection with the entire internet environment. 

These actions are performed outside the website itself. See some examples:

  • link building: establishing a network of internal links between the pages of your site improves the ranking because Google will read all pages as one thing;
  • guest posts: in this strategy, you publish content in blogs and websites of other companies, to strengthen both domains;
  • campaigns and partnership actions: as with guest posts, the goal here is to strengthen both domains. In these actions, you can launch rich materials in partnership with the other brand or develop cross-media actions.

So, for you to succeed with your strategy, it is worth following some good practices, like:

  • use the concept of long-tail, that is, specific keywords. Very specific search terms tend to have a low volume of searches and competition;
  • never take advantage of non-recommended techniques, the so-called Black Hat. That is, practices of repeating keywords, titles that do not match the content, etc.;
  • analyze data collected by Google Analytics regularly and make changes to your articles, posts, and ads;
  • do not forget to use calls-to-action in SEO strategies. A good CTA can be the difference between the success and failure of your campaign;
  • observe the competition and look for keywords in both sponsored links and organic strategies. Often, you may discover relevant terms in which you can beat your opponents;
  • always put the user first and try to solve their problems. Remember: SEM strategies should always benefit the user!

The application of all these SEO techniques, combined with the consistency of your efforts, will ensure that your site wins positions in Google SERPs. Allied, SEO, and SEM will bring expressive results to your brand.

There are several ways to use SEO techniques to your advantage. One of them specifically facilitates attracting local customers. Want to know more? Read our post about Local SEO!


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