Considered as the result of the merger between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEA (Search Engine Advertising), the acronym “SEM” (Search Engine Marketing) refers to search engine marketing. SEM brings together a set of techniques whose common objective is to guarantee good visibility to an advertiser via organic positioning, on the one hand, and the implementation of paid campaigns, on the other.
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What is SEM?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a type of marketing strategy aimed at combining natural referencing techniques with those of paid referencing in order to allow the advertiser to better position themselves in the SERPs (search engine results pages). The goal is to gain visibility.
How does SEM work?
SEO, the first component of SEM
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) includes all the actions implemented by an advertiser to improve the position of its web pages in search engine results, without investing any advertising budget. Thus, SEO is considered the foundation of SEM.
On the Google search engine, the pages that are positioned in the search results following SEO actions always appear after those that have been the subject of an SEA campaign. Likewise, the results of SEO actions generally take longer to show. However, organic SEO has a greater impact on long-term brand or business visibility.
SEO actions are separated into two main categories: on the one hand, on-page SEO and, on the other, off-page SEO.
On-page SEO acts on a set of elements within the website to optimize the positioning of each of its pages in search engine results (SERPs). For its part, the SEO called “off-page” operates outside the website. Its objective is to gain external links (backlinks) to the website on other sites or on social networks.
Off-page and on-page SEO operations must be complementary to implement an effective organic SEO strategy.
SEA, second component of the SEM
Along with SEO, SEA is the other essential component of SEM. The acronym “SEA” stands for “Search Engine Advertising”. SEA is a marketing branch of shaping search engine advertisements to maximize the visibility of ads in search engine results. On Google, for example, sponsored ads appear before unsponsored ones. More visible to users, they have been the subject of precise targeting and, above all, of advertising payment to appear in a better position.
SEA is often considered complementary to organic referencing (SEO). However, it does not pursue the same objectives. The implementation of paid campaigns, via the Google Ads tool, for example, meets a need for the advertiser to achieve its commercial and marketing objectives quickly against the payment of a sum proportional to its ambitions.
Thus, betting on SEA can mean setting up a paid cost-per-click (CPC) ad on Google Ads to hope to sell a new product faster. In this case, the advertisement presenting the product in question is displayed at the heart of Google results on a request (a set of keywords) regularly formulated by users who are looking for the same type of product. In a pay-per-click sponsored ad, the advertiser (the company or brand behind the campaign) pays each time someone clicks on the ad to view it. This method makes it possible to invest a budget proportional to the commercial profits made at the end of the SEA campaign.
Combine SEA and SEO for an SEM strategy
Any SEM strategy aims to increase website traffic by using both SEA and SEO techniques. It is common for the concept of SEM to be wrongly used to refer only to SEA, while SEO actions provide long-term stability to the entire Search Engine Marketing strategy.
For an effective SEM approach, it is necessary to combine SEO and SEA. Even if the SEO concerns the natural referencing and the SEA, the paid referencing, the two aspects of the SEM are based on a search operation of strategic keywords. Indeed, each result on a search engine is based on keywords, whether sponsored or organic.
For paid advertisements, a successful definition of the keywords makes it possible to align with the user’s request to offer him an advertisement in total adequacy with his search intention. For a result obtained thanks to SEO, it’s the same thing: the content of the web page must include strategic keywords in order to be offered to the Internet user by the algorithm of Google or any other search engine. .
To conduct effective keyword research, it is possible, even recommended, to use an online tool such as Google Keyword Planner. This solution gives a precise indication of the balance between the search volume observed for each keyword or query and its degree of competition, valuable information for knowing whether or not it is interesting to position oneself on a query, whether it is either in SEO or in SEA.
In summary, reconciling SEO and SEA techniques to succeed in SEM means making sure to position yourself naturally (and therefore for free) in the first pages of results of search engines like Google in the long term while optimizing your visibility. on an ad hoc basis via the implementation of well-targeted paid campaigns with a more impactful action in the short term.
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