May 22, 2022

Cosmic Media World

Covering All Things Arts & Media

The Basics of SEM

Next to SEO, SEM is the next tool in the internet marketers arsenal. Just like SEO, the concept is relatively easier to know but it is harder to master. What makes SEM different than SEO is that you need money to execute SEM efforts. Most companies would prefer hiring professional agencies to work on their SEM efforts since it has a deep learning curve. If you would prefer to do it yourself, this guide can get you started.

What is SEM?

SEM stands for search engine marketing. It is when businesses pay search engines to be on top of the search results when someone searches on Google or Bing. When you use Google or Bing to search for things like lawyers for example:

You will notice that the 3 results would have a text called “Ad” on the side. This means that these businesses paid to be on the top of the results page. When you click on these links they would lead to their websites just like any other link. The only difference is that those businesses will pay Google because Google drove traffic to their websites. Seems simple enough right?

How does it work?

When a user types a keyword into the search engine, it will trigger an auction where different businesses will bid for that keyword. Those businesses tell Google that they want to be on top of the search engine results page (SERP) and they are willing to pay. Google only gets paid if users click on the ad, if not they will pay nothing. The fee varies depending on how competitive these keywords are. The higher businesses are willing to pay, the higher the fee is.

What’s The Difference Between SEO and SEM?

With SEO, you are focusing on organic results. With organic results you don’t pay anything to Google. You can check out our guide to SEO here.

Do Many People Use SEM?

YES! Google made $104 billion dollars in 2020 on search ads and it makes up for 71% of it’s revenue. Most businesses use SEM as a primary way to for users visit their website. They use SEM to drive short term growth. These ads are customizable to target specific kinds of people. The ads can even be customized to account for seasonality.

Why Should I Pay Google? What About SEO?

Google and Bing reserves the top spot in the SERP for ads. Even if a business has a high ranking in organic results, other businesses can pay to be on top of the results page.  This is commonly used for businesses that have a relatively new online presence. You can get more visitors and customers quicker than SEO can in a short amount of time.


SEM is a very valuable tool in a marketers arsenal to promote a business with quick results. Most experienced marketers use both SEO and SEM as this is a 1-2 punch that drives short term results with long term growth.