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What is SEM?

Signs Show the Way on a Rural Country Path the Way SEM ads on Google Help Guide Users to the Information They Need

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Explained

Search Engine Marketing or SEM is a paid, inbound marketing strategy for which particular ads are selected to be shown for particular searches on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Many search engines offer ad space alongside their regular, organic listings. While organic results are entirely left to the discretion of the search engine and there is no obligation to show your listing, SEM is a contract through which the search engine agrees to show your ad when certain conditions are met. 

What is the Difference between SEM and SEO

SEM differs from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in that for a fee, an advertiser has some control over when and how her/his ad can appear. The agreement is generally that if certain conditions are met, the ad could be displayed. SEO comes with much less control. Working to make the page, image, video or app an ideal experience for particular searches can win you visibility but is not guaranteed and cannot be bought. For practical purposes, SEO is work on-site or otherwise related to the content that when done well can eventually get your listing seen and draw people to your content. It can take a long time, but the benefits can last long after you put in the effort. SEM is configuration through an ad platform that when defined searches in defined areas occur you agree to pay a certain amount for the chance to be seen. Within hours of activating an ad, you can be seen. As soon as you deactivate the ad, it will no longer serve. 

How Much Does SEM Cost?

Ad platforms typically charge for each click. These charges can be as little as pennies for each click or as much as hundreds per click. On most ad platforms such as Google Ads or Microsoft Ads, a few factors determine how much a click will cost, including the competitiveness for that search and your landing experience's fitness to answer the search. There are thousands of services that provide SEM services, and each has their own model for charging for their management services. Some add a percentage to each click. Others charge a monthly fee, similar to a subscription. 

For most businesses looking to have a strong local presence, anywhere from $200 to $2,000 can be an appropriate level of ad spend. Regional, national and international campaigns might require significantly higher level of spend. VGM Forbin charges a monthly management fee for services. This is to provide simplicity and transparency. Monthly fees for VGM Forbin's SEM services are as low as $299 per month, We work with you to determine the appropriate level of ad spend for your goals and budget. 

What is AdWords?

Google Ads is the most popular ad serving platfrom for Search Engine Marketing. The platform changed its name from AdWords to Google Ads in July of 2018, but people outside the industry continue to refer to Google Ads and SEM advertising as "AdWords".

Where Do SEM Ads Show Up?

The landscape around SEM advertising is always changing. SEM ran through Google Ads can show on Google search engine results pages as well as across hundreds of other search services through Google's network of Search Partners. Microsoft Ads is another ad serving service. Those ads can show on Bing, Yahoo, or across a number of other partnered sites. 

How Do I Start Serving SEM Ads?

A great way to get started is to connect with the knowledgeable and helpful team at VGM Forbin. We'll help you develop a strategy that makes sense for your goals and budget. However getting started on your own isn't too difficult. Create an account with Google Ads or Microsoft Ads, then configure your ads, keywords and more through their platform.