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Glossary keyword - SEM - Search Engine Marketing

SEM - Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the practice of promoting websites on search engine result pages by paid advertising. It is a significant method of internet marketing and takes into account several aspects of search engine optimization (SEO). Hence, it involves changes to the wording of the written content on a website and the structures of web pages - All to rank higher on the search engine result pages and boost pay per click (PPC) listings. As of 2017, search engine marketing generated over $24.6 billion in the U.S. alone. A figure which indicates the fast-growing pace of SEM relative to traditional advertising.

Emergence of SEM

SEM began with the simple intention to match people to the most relevant results on the result pages way in the mid-to-late 1990s. Search engines accomplished this with their algorithms like Google’s PageRank. With the increase of websites and internet users around the same time, companies offering search services developed business models to help monetize their services. Examples of these included 1980’s Goto.com and pay-per-click by 1996’s Open Text. Most of these -early companies have been acquired by bigger ones in the business. For instance, Goto.com in 2001 began known as Overture. Two years after this name change Yahoo! bought the company. Overture is now part of Yahoo but still provides paid search services for internet marketing.

Position in Internet Marketing

Google was the next to join the search engine marketing or SEM industry with their AdWords campaigns. Five years later, it became clear to internet marketers and businesses that pay-per-click programs were here to stay. However, Google dominated the market, and most search engine optimization goes according to the rules of Google’s playbook. To catch up with these rules and best practices, search engine optimization experts began providing businesses search engine related services focused primarily on using search for advertising and marketing. With this, the term “search engine marketing” gained popularity in 2001 through an American technologist named Danny Sullivan.

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