I discussed briefly some of the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) in a previous blog post. At that time, my main concentration was the basics of SEO. Since then, we have had a few posts that relate to SEO as it pertains to listing titles on Craigslist and eBay as well as the importance of keywords.

For this post, I wanted to touch on the basics of SEM. SEM is generally used to refer to the use of paid advertising to promote your website. This is how I will use it as well but it should be noted that SEM technically include any means of promoting your website including the use of Search Engine Marketing.

Below is a simple diagram of a search results page on Google. You can see highlighted the areas covered by Organic Search or SEO as well as the Paid Search area or SEM.

Google Search Page

You cannot receive placement within the Paid Search area without paying. This method of getting your website link placed on search results is often referred to as “Pay-Per-Click”. Each link within the Paid Search area has an associated ‘bid’ that allowed it to be placed there. When a visitor clicks on the link, the purchaser is charged for that click – hence, they pay per click. There is a complex formula used by Google to determine which paid links display per search and it is no longer simply who is willing to pay the most for each click.

That is a very basic introduction to SEM. It is also important to note that other sites accept paid advertising as well as Google. While, I plan to go into further detail in the future. For now, please see the poll below and let us know your experience with Search Engine Marketing.