Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

What Is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? search engine marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing, AKA SEM, is a method of Internet marketing that aims to promote websites by increasing their online visibility in search engine result pages, AKA SERPs, by deploying methods such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), which is also known as paid placement, contextual advertising, which is when links within articles are actually ads that point to a site, and the traditional banner ads that appear all around articles.

What is The Cheapest Way to Get Traffic?

The cheapest way to get traffic online is to get organic traffic. Organic traffic, particularly the type of organic traffic that converts into actual sales, comes from searches. People’s rarely go to Facebook or Twitter to buy something. Sure there is an argument to be made about impulse buying, but the numbers there are negligible. Real buyers, you know the ones that have credit cards in their hands, are sitting at the desks on their computers searching Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Others are still searching those same search engines, except they are doing it on their mobile phones. The point here is that no matter how you toss the dice, the cheapest way to get traffic is buying ensuring your website appears higher on the search engines. In fact, the first page of a search results gets 72% of all search traffic, and of course the #1 position gets the most amount of traffic on that first page.

So when you are building a site, it is important to have a crystal clear answer to this question above all others-“how much cheap traffic is this site going to drive?” Make worrying about the aesthetics of the site is a tertiary choice.  The second most important two-part question your site must answer is are visitors to my site going to understand the value of my offering, and are they going to be able to EASILY buy from my site or complete the contact/proposal request form.

Paid Search Engine Marketing vs. Organic Search Engine Marketing

Here at we specialize in organic search engine marketing. We do that for a couple of reasons:

1)  You can do paid search engine marketing yourself. Google AdWords and Bing Advertising have several automation features in place already, where you can set a budget, set a time for your ads to run, leave optimize of the campaign on where the best ads are displayed more etc.

2)  It is much cheaper for businesses to do organic search engine marketing (and it typically results in more sales conversions) that paid search engine marketing

Here is a stat one of my dentist friends read off over sushi – 31,000 impressions, 180 clicks, 5 form completion, 1 conversion, 4 tracked called. These were his results from advertising on search engines for an entire month! He paid nearly $1,500 for these types of results.

Now, had he done proper organic search engine marketing and SEO, where the right keywords were selected, the results would look more like this:

31,000 impressions

1,240 clicks

124 form completions

24 conversions

Of course, we wouldn’t be able to track phone calls, unless he gave us a dedicated phone number or used a 3rd party phone number to track calls.

Typically, the results are vastly better from organic search engine marketing than from paid search engine marketing, as a majority of people skip over sponsored results and ads. However, the best part of organic search engine marketing is that he would have paid less than $1,000 to get 24X the results! In essence, he would have paid ~$41 per new dental client he brought into his dental practice. We all know how expensive dentists can get, so he would have made a ton of money had he gone the organic search engine marketing route. Unfortunately, his hosting provider has him on a template dental site, where a bunch of other dentists use the same exact system. So making even a filename change on his site, would impact hundreds of other dentists’ websites throughout the Country. So no true organic search engine optimization (SEO) can be deployed. Of course, once can still do off-site optimization (backlink building), however, the hosting company that manages those sites refuses to work with any outside SEO firm.

In circumstances like the above, we typically recommend the client get a second domain name and have us build and optimize that site instead. Just goes to show how important it is to plan every step of your Internet marketing efforts before you even think about building a site. Working with the wrong hosting/IT company can be devastating to a business.