What Is Search Engine Marketing?

Every business keeps looking for ways to increase its ranking on search engines and attract more traffic to its website. To do this, several strategies are employed, one of which is search engine marketing. The investment a startup makes into search engine marketing is what determines its level of visibility and growth.

To ensure your startup is getting search engine marketing right, we shall be examining what search engine marketing is, the difference between SEO and SEM, basic concepts to know about SEM, and the best ways to go about it.

Understanding Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a unique digital marketing strategy aimed at getting your startup on the first page of search engine results. Many users who use search engines to find a particular product or service always pay more attention to results on the first page.

Beyond the steps taken to get on the front page of search engine results, SEM also encompasses all the tools leveraged to optimize web content and pages better. As we will come to see later, SEM increases organic traffic, making your web page one of those to be picked by Google’s algorithm.

With the right SEM strategy, you can attract more traffic to your business website, convert them in the long term, and increase sales. SEM also helps your startup record lower costs per click on ads and make the most of conversions.

Search Engine Optimization is not the same as Search Engine Marketing. | Source: Unsplash

The Difference between SEM and SEO

For many marketing departments, there are times when SEO is mistaken for SEM and vice versa. While they may sound alike, several differences exist between these two concepts.

To start with, while search engine optimization focuses on getting traffic from organic search results alone, search engine marketing focuses on getting traffic from organic and paid search results.

SEO primarily focuses on a webpage ranking high on search engine results, while SEM makes the most of the SEO high ranking to increase conversion rate and sales.

For a more precise understanding, SEM is a broad marketing strategy that encompasses SEO. There is no way you can effectively carry out search engine marketing without search engine optimization. Having said that, if you’re thinking of opting for these services for your business, it may be a good idea to look for one of the best digital marketing agency in your location.

Basic Concepts for Effective Search Engine Marketing

To carry out search engine marketing effectively, there are some basic concepts that every marketing team must know, and they include but are not limited to the following;

  • Keywords

Every time a user searches for a particular product or service, they do so by entering specific keywords. When these keywords or groups of words are inputted in your content, it makes your webpage more visible to users.

  • Concordance

Concordance refers to a balance between keywords you have chosen for particular content and what people search for in a search engine. For adequate concordance, you can either opt for a broad keyword /or a specific one.

  • Text Ad

Have you ever searched for a query on any search engine, and an ad is displayed usually as the first two results? Those are referred to as text ads, including a title, a URL, and a detailed description.

  • Ad group

An ad group refers to a group of ads that share similar keywords. When a marketer makes use of ad groups for search engine marketing, it becomes easy to identify the specific ad that is most effective.

  • Campaign

A campaign organizes different ad groups that have similar keywords and goals. Campaigns are the best strategy to save cost when your startup offers multiple products that are linked together. For example, if you sell beauty products, you can create a campaign to include an ad group featuring creams, soaps, and make-up items.

  • Landing page

Your startup’s search engine marketing strategy is not complete without a landing page. After all the effort inputted into creating an ad, you need a landing page where users are directed to after clicking the ad. However, it is not enough to create a landing page; you must ensure it is well-optimized with call-to-actions that propel users to take action.

  • Quality score

Quality Score is the score awarded by Google to specific ads that drive clicks. The more relevant an ad is to a particular audience, the higher the chance of a better score. With Google’s quality score, quality ads rank higher and have a lower cost per click.

Getting your business on the front page of Google gives it more visibility. | Source: Unsplash

Importance of Search Engine Marketing

SEM offers a lot of value to businesses, especially startups. Perhaps your startup is yet to consider investing in SEM because it is not aware of its importance. The benefits of SEM for startups are endless, but some of them include:

  • It helps to generate organic traffic.

While several ways exist to generate organic traffic, some of them take a long time. Sometimes, you may have to invest a lot into many strategies and wait to start seeing your investment results.

However, with search engine marketing, you can accelerate the process. Provided you engage in the right strategies, you can start enjoying increased traffic immediately after your website is launched.

  • It ensures your startup appears on the front page of search engine results.

There is no better way to enjoy increased sales than to get better visibility. Search engine marketing, by ensuring your website appears at the top of the results of search engines, gives your startup visibility.

Not every user will click your webpage the first time they see it. However, when they keep seeing it on the first page of Google search results, it’s only a matter of time before they click.

  • It improves conversion rates.

Remember that search engine marketing refers to all the tools, strategies, and means employed to ensure your website appears at the top of search results. However, that’s not the end goal. The essence of increasing your business visibility is that your business records a better conversion rate.


Launching a startup can be a financially tasking decision, and while you need manage costs, you also need to employ the best marketing strategies. This is where leveraging search engine marketing becomes necessary. Whether you have a small or large business, SEM is a cost-effective option with an affordable investment plan.

  • As your startup grows, you can increase how much is inputted into SEM, first to maintain the momentum, but most importantly, to get the results you desire.


Reliable Soft: What is the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

Optimizely: Search engine marketing

Benchmark One: Search Engine Marketing: SEM Best Practices (And Why You Need Them)

Neil Patel: The Definitive Strategy for Driving Organic Traffic Without Ranking in Google’s Top 10


Do you want to get your startup on the first page of search engine results? Of course your answer should be yes and nothing less. At AbstractOps, we can guide you through the process of effectively optimizing your website and content for better visibility. All you need to do is reach out to us at hello@abstractops.com.