Search Engine Marketing

SEM and PPC are the same thing

SEM means Search Engine Marketing. It is often called PPC – Pay Per Click or Paid Search or often it has now been reduced to “adwords” as in Google Adwords.

In my and many digital strategist’s opinion, search marketing is the most cost effective online marketing channel and should make up the largest percentage of your online media budget. Search is crucial to the success of a campaign and must be included in any digital media channel strategy. Having said that, it is admittedly a fragmented channel that requires some serious thought about how you want to use it and which search strategy will get you where you need to be, in the short, medium and long term.

A successful paid search campaign strategy will include many bidding strategies

A successful SEM/ PPC Paid search campaign must factor in all elements of the bidding strategy

Search integrates with every other form of marketing

Remember that search must be integrated into your overall media campaign. If your business is investing heavily in radio, television or print advertising, if the creative has the desired effect, it will have a flow on effect in search queries. In a world where the “2nd and 3rd screen” is becoming increasingly common-place and where users are consuming multiple mediums through multiple devices at the same time (meaning they’re using their mobile phone or iPad or computer at the same time as watching TV), your search or more specifically, your digital integration strategy, is more important than ever.

Search Engine Marketing tools

Google Adwords is the most commonly known form of search marketing (SEM). Of course there was Yahoo! Search Marketing before Adwords but in Australia, Google has about 95% market share (the percentage of Australians who choose to use Google instead of other search engines such as or so if you’re going to invest in a paid search campaign in Australia, it should be Google Adwords.

Paid search versus Natural search

With the rise of other search channels, we must be clear on the role of paid search (SEM or PPC as above) as part of the overall search marketing mix. Paid search is not to be confused with SEO (search engine optimization), the difference being that you can control your search traffic (to an extent) when you pay per click with SEM whereas we could arguer that you have to put in more technical, and longer term, hard work to be as effective with SEO.

We’ve written loads of articles about SEM, so for more information on how Search Engine Marketing works, Read on our blog.