Search engine marketing - types, platforms, and keywords

Read our short guide on what search engine marketing (SEM) is, SEM types, platforms, and keywords.

Ron Pearson

We at Futrli know that search engine marketing is key when running a (small) business in our time and age. It makes your business visible in eCommerce and online presence. SEM describes the practice of ensuring your business sits at or near the top of search engine results pages.

Types of SEM advertising

The three major types of SEM advertising are:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Pay Per Impression (PPI)
  • Pay Per Sale/Action (PPS/PPA)

PPC, by far, is the most common. When a company employs PPC as part of their search engine optimization, it means they are charged a fee each time an ad that they have posted is clicked on. Every one of these clicks leads to someone going to the company's website or landing page, and the fee per click varies, depending upon the cost of the keywords being used and what the company is willing to pay to drive traffic and optimize their search marketing.

One advantage of PPC as an SEM approach is that the company only has to pay if someone clicks on the ad found through search engines, so no fee will be charged if the ad turns out to be ineffective and few people click through to the site. This sort of results-driven payment structure makes it very simple to budget for search engine marketing strategies.

Team meeting in office
Good search engine marketing is key when running a (small) business.

What are SEM platforms, and how do they improve your search engine optimization?

The phrase "SEM platform" is a somewhat convoluted way of describing something quite basic. An SEM platform is a search engine on which businesses may post advertisements that appear when consumers use certain keywords related to eg the firm's products. Google Ads is the most popular and widely used digital marketing/ SEM platform to improve a business's search results on.

Google searches per second at any given moment can be tracked, - a study from 2019 found that Google handles 3.5 billion queries every day, giving some sense of the vast global audience that an effective SEM strategy can help your business tap into. Sold usage of keyword research can really improve your search engine rankings.

Two men looking at laptop
An SEM platform is a search engine on which businesses may post advertisements that appear when consumers use certain keywords related to eg the firm's products.

Finding the right target keywords

The keywords used in an SEM campaign are known as SEM keywords. When a person employs these terms in a search, they will see your advertisements at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). Although choosing appropriate keywords to target your intended audience is a highly scientific procedure, SEM keywords, in general, may be divided into three

  • Broad match: Variations on a specific term - eg if you search for "best mechanic" and include the term "garage," Google will see that you're a potential customer. You'll also be linked to relevant content in your area based on keywords related to your industry. SEM keywords are often variations of a specific term. For instance, broad match keywords for garages might include automobile repairs, auto care, etc.
  • Phrase match: Target specific term describing the business used with other words or phrases coming before or after. In the motor repair example, targeted phrases include "best motor mechanic", "professional motor mechanic", "motor mechanic services", and so on.  
  • Exact match: Keywords very close to the targeted term (can include single or plural forms, common misspellings, abbreviations, paraphrases, and any other variations)
Man on laptop
The keywords used in an SEM campaign are known as SEM keywords.

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