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What is Search Engine Marketing?

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a form of digital or internet marketing that aims at increasing the visibility of websites or web pages in Search engine result pages.

Broadly speaking, Search Marketing consists of two parts:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - which is unpaid, organic and involves free listing. Read more...
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing) - which involves paid search listings or PPC campaigning (Pay Per Click).

What is SEM?

PPC (Pay Per Click):

PPC (also known as CPC or Cost Per Click, Search Engine advertising or Paid Placements) is an online advertising method, in which the advertiser/website owner pays a specific amount to the search engine, may it be Google or Bing or any other, whenever any visitor clicks on the Advertisement. PPC also includes Display Advertisements (Banner Ads) and Sponsored links (Sponsored Ads).

Useful SEM Tools:

  1. Google AdWords Keyword Tool
  2. SEO Book Keyword Tool
  3. Google Traffic Estimator
  4. Microsoft Ad Intelligence
  5. Wordstream Free Keyword Tool
  6. YouTube Keyword Tool
  7. Title and Description Optimization Tool
  8. Image SEO Tool
  9. XML Sitemap Generators

Google Adwords:

It is inevitable to talk about AdWords, whenever a discussion on SEM comes up! Google AdWords is a service provided by Google for online advertising, where the ad copies of a company are positioned at the top, left or right hand side or at the bottom of the list of results Google shows for a specific search query. Adwords include PPC advertising, Cost per thousand impressions advertising and also site-targeted advertising for multi-media ads. Advertisers identify the keywords they want to bid on, the amount they are ready to spend, and group these keywords with the ads.

Why SEM Careers are getting so popular?

As online advertising is on a rise, there is a vast scope for SEM Professionals. Infact, Search Engine Marketing has a lot of advantages over traditional marketing methods, some of which are listed below:
  1. With increasing use of internet and search engines, Search Engine Marketing is undoubtedly one of the hottest career options in the market today.
  2. You do not require any specific academic qualification to enter this profession. You can learn it online or get a professional training.
  3. An SEM expert can also work from home with a lot of flexibility. With some experience you can also start on your own.
  4. SEM is a very dynamic and exciting field, leading to a lot of job satisfaction.
  5. SEM promises good ROI as compared to traditional forms of marketing.
  6. SEM leads to increase in leads, sales and branding.
  7. With increasing demand for SEM experts, the SEM Payscale is very lucrative.

Payscale of SEM Professionals:

According to, the average payscale of SEM Specialist is $79,000 per annum. The salary is highly dependent upon the no. of years of experience, company, city, etc.

Some of the SEM jobs are listed below:

Skills required to become a successful SEM Specialist:

  • Very good understanding of Search engines, how they work, various SEM tools, especially Google Adwords, Google Analytics, MSN advertising, Yahoo search Marketing, Word tracker, FTP Softwares, Google Toolbar and so on.
  • Strong Analytics and Research skills.
  • Thorough knowledge of HTML editors, CSS, XML, PHP, ASP, etc.
  • Good awareness of latest SEO and SEM guidelines.
  • Excellent Communication skills.
  • Passion for internet search and keyword analysis.
  • Having strong marketing instinct and understanding customer behavior.
  • Very creative with problem solving abilities.
Professional Certifications do help in leveraging your position as an SEM Specialist. Certifications like Google Advertising Professional Certification, Yahoo Certified Ambassador, online Certifications from SEMPO Institute, SEO College, Bruce Clay, the DMA, etc add a lot of credibility to your resume.

Tips to become an SEM professional:

1. Read a lot on the internet. There are several articles, websites, blog posts, Discussion Forums available on the internet relating to SEM. Here is a list of useful reading material:
  • The Nitty Gritty of Writing for the search Engines (by Jill Whalen)
  • SEO Book (by Aaron Wall)
  • SEMPO (Professional organization)
  • SMA-NA (Professional organization)
  • Google Adwords Blog
  • Top Rank Blog
  • Matt Cutts Blog
  • Bruce Clay's Blog
  • SearchEngineLand
  • Search Engine People (Forum)
  • SEOmoz
  • WebmasterWorld
  • Search Marketing Gurus
  • David Naylor
  • aimClear
  • Search Engine Journal
  • Search (by John Battelle)
2. Attend webinars, seminars or conferences related to SEM. Network with like-minded people and industry experts. Join a social networking site such as Webmaster World or High Rankings. 3. If possible enroll for classroom or online training programs. Being a fresher you may not be able to judge the relevant information available on the internet related to SEM, learning from the experts will save a lot of your time and effort in getting into Search Engine Marketing. Search Engine Marketing is a complete package of a lucrative, dynamic and exciting career with a lot of challenges to be overcome every day! So, if you are the one, who loves to explore internet and the mystery behind how search engines work, then SEM is the right career choice for you!

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Share your thoughts with the community or ask a question

Geoffrey 07/10/2014

Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

Loreen 11/05/2014

WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for What is Search Engine Marketing

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