Search Engine Marketing - A Guide for Beginners

Search Engine Marketing Guide 2022

Marketing has existed ever since man had wants and needs. Man’s obsession with things predates humanity itself as it has been observed to exist even amongst other animals. But man identifies the opportunity lying here to get something in return for being able to provide what the other required. This led to the whole idea of trade taking birth.

The industrial revolution brought forth a huge shift in the idea of trade. Before that large-scale trade was mostly restricted to raw materials. Finished goods were tedious to manufacture and were in constant demand. With the industrial revolution, large-scale production of finished goods as possible. This led to a surplus of goods. This was a huge shift in marketing strategy for advertising as now they had to convince consumers that they needed to buy a product.

Before this the need was present, but the products weren’t. Now with a huge stock of products available, advertising became key. Marketing itself went through various changes with print media and later televisions. This now is the age of the internet. The internet has made everything around us infinitely more accessible. This has led to the birth of digital marketing.

Digital marketing has taken advertising to the internet. Nowadays most customers look for products online due to the convenience it offers. Many countries are facing the death of retail stores due to the advent of the internet. Most consumers are increasingly resorting to searching engines to look for products on the internet.

In fact, about 35% of all product searches are estimated to originate on Google alone. However, the average search only lasts a minute. This implies that it is critical for a product to appear on top of search results in order for sales to be completed. This cannot be always achieved organically and hence comes the need for a paid strategy to achieve this. This is where the concept of SEM search engine marketing strategy comes into the picture. 

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing, popularly known as SEM, is the use of paid marketing to increase visibility in search results. SEM was initially an umbrella term for both organic and inorganic mechanisms to increase visibility in search results. But now, the distinction is being established. Organic mechanisms to increase search visibility is referred to as SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Meanwhile, an inorganic paid strategy to increase the same visibility is referred to as SEM or Search Engine Marketing.

SEM is a mechanism that offers brands the chance to place their ad links on SERPs or Search Engine Result Pages. For this purpose, keywords are identified which are relevant to the brand and at the same time have a higher chance of being a user search. The brand is charged only if the link is clicked.

These inorganic paid search links can be found in any SERPs depending on region and keywords. They generally appear either at the top of the search results or at the bottom of the first page of search results. These links contain an “Ad” tag to let users know about the nature of the result link.

Advertisers have the possible option of using paid advertisements to boost brand visibility in a given field of operation. Advertisers have the chance to bid on potential keywords that users of popular search engines like google might use when searching for products in the brand’s domain. This gives the advertiser the possibility to place their ads along with relevant search results.

These ads are a type of ads called PPC or pay-per-click. These PPCs themselves can come in various forms ranging from short texts on social media to visual ads like PLAs. These ads are designed to allow potential customers to glance at relevant data like price and reviews.

One of the biggest advantages and USPs of this marketing strategy is that it offers marketers with the opportunity to place their ads, and in turn their products, in front of motivated consumers who are looking to buy a related product at that very moment. This is unique because no other form of advertisement makes it possible to advertise right at the time when a consumer is looking to buy a related product. This is the reason this form of marketing is extremely effective and can act as a big boost in the process of growing any new business.

Digital Marketing


Search marketing is now an umbrella term which is used to refer to both organic and inorganic forms of marketing in search engines. That is the inorganic SEM marketing and the organic SEO marketing. SEM is paid strategy to increase visibility in search results and SEO is an optimized delivery of content to increase visibility in search results.

Search Engine Optimization marketing is an organic marketing strategy to increase visibility in SERPs. SEO results are earned through optimization of content. The focus is more on finetuning the entire content strategy to appear at top of search results. It is a long and painstaking process and results can last equally long as well. SEO consultants oversee this optimization process. This SEO digital marketing process is a long-term process employed by businesses.

SEM uses paid strategy to get places at top of SERPs. Here the focus is more on relevant keywords for heading as well as a powerful call-to-action. Here, the job is to convince potential customers to make a purchase.


PPC Marketing

PPC is a wider umbrella term under which SEM comes. PPC refers to Pay-per-click marketing. Here a brand creates ads on a digital platform and is charged according to clicks made on the ad. SEM ads are PPC, but PPC has a wider scope than SEM. SEM PPC is just a part of wider PPC marketing.

SEM is confined to just SERPs across search engines. PPC on the other hand has no such restrictions. It can be used across the internet including links provided in social media. PPC can also be used in display ads and banner ads where it is a more visual ad rather than the textual nature of SEM.



Before you can choose which keywords to use in your search engine marketing campaigns, you need to conduct comprehensive research as part of your keyword management strategy.

There is a need to identify keywords that are relevant to the given business and which prospective customers are likely to use when searching for related products and services. A lot of tools are available for this purpose, the primary example being google keyword planner.

Start by entering a keyword that’s relevant to your business or service, this will lead to related keyword suggestion ideas that can form the foundation of various search engine marketing campaigns that can be run.

Apart from helping identify keywords, you should be bidding on; through keyword research, you can also identify negative keywords – search terms that you should be excluded from your potential campaigns. Negative keywords aren’t necessarily terms with negative connotations, but rather they are irrelevant terms that are extremely unlikely to result in conversions. For example, if you sell chocolates, you might want to exclude the keyword “how to make chocolates”, as users searching for homemade chocolate recipes are unlikely to be looking for your product.

This idea is known as search intent or the chance of a prospect completing a purchase or other relevant desired action after searching for a given term. Some keywords are deemed to have high commercial intent or a strong indication that the searcher intends to purchase something. Examples of high commercial intent keywords include:

→ Discount(s)

→ Buy

→ Free shipping

→ Coupon(s)

→ Deal(s)

→ Cashback

→ Rewards

→ Offer

→ Clearance sale

→ 1+1 sale 

Ad Auctions

Once you're prepared to delve into SEM, you'll need to participate in an ad auction.  For example, we'll focus on the ad auction in Google Ads.

Stated in a simple manner, every other Google ad you come across goes through an ad auction before appearing in the SERPs. To enter into an ad auction, you'll first need to shortlist the keywords you want to bid on, and clarify how much you're willing to pay per click on those keywords.

Once Google determines whether the keywords you bid on are part of a user's search query, you're entered into the ad auction.

Not every ad will appear on every search related to that keyword. Some keywords don't have enough commercial intent to justify incorporating ads into the page -- for instance, if we search "What is happiness?" into Google, we don't see any ads appear.

Furthermore, even if your keyword is the right fit for an ad, it doesn't mean you'll prevail in the bidding. The ad auction considers two main factors when determining which ads to place on the SERP -- your maximum bid, and your ads Quality Score.

A Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. You can find your Quality Score, which is reported on a 1-10 scale, in your keywords' "Status" column in your Google Ads account. The more relevant your ad is to a user, as well as how likely a user is to click through and have an enjoyable landing page experience, all factor into your overall Quality Score.

Campaign Strategy

These are some factors to keep in mind while formulating a campaign strategy.

Quality score 

This is an estimate of the ad quality. This does not consider just the ad text. Here, the keywords used and the landing pages linked are assessed as well. The score is given on a scale of 1-10 and can be accessed in the google ads account. The relevance of the ad to the user is a huge factor as it can determine the experience they are going to have. All these factors into the quality score.


The ad needs to convince an already motivated consumer into going for your product from all the options available. The ad text therefore needs to be appealing and distinct and at the same time call upon the consumer to perform the desired action. The ad is made up of three components, the title, the display URL, and the description.


The keywords need to be relevant and need to have a high commercial intent. Linking any highly searched keyword that is not relevant or linking a non-commercial keyword related to the domain can prove to be harmful for the strategy and might also waste resources of the campaign.


At the end of the day, when your keywords are chosen and your account is structured, you still have to write good ads and "earn" the click. The copy text has to be short, crisp and convincing. It need not be clever or funny, although that could be a bonus. The main objective is to make sale with the least words possible.

Benefits of SEM

→ Instant reach to clients

Search Engine Marketing can bring instant visibility and results as compared to any SEO strategies.

→ Create brand awareness

Search Engine Marketing helps increase visibility in search results, this, in turn, helps increase brand visibility which boosts brand awareness.

→ Option of targeting based on geographic location

SEM gives opportunity to target based on various demographics, including location. Ads can be created in different languages and can be made to appear based on cities. Even local Search engine marketing is possible.

→ Easy Ad management and implementation

Google Ads allows for easy management of ads. They can be created in a short period of time and can be effectively managed from one dashboard. This also allows for optimizing ads further.

→ Specific target of demographics

Helps target very specific niches in the market. Provides option to optimize ads as per different demographics.

→ Boost Traffic Through Ad Visibility

Search Engine Marketing helps your ads appear on top of search results. This is bound to result in a higher number of clicks on the ad. This can be furthermore improved by optimizing further using analytics. This helps drive traffic into your website which will further boost organic performance of the website as well.

→ Target specific audiences through keyword matches

The keyword planner from google helps you identify the most popular keywords. Using these keywords in marketing campaigns can help target the right audience.

→ PPC nature

It’s a low-risk strategy for a brand as SEM is a part of PPC marketing. This means the brand has to pay only if desired action in the form of a click is achieved and is not charged for display of the ad, which would be the case with most traditional modes of marketing.

→ Cash in on competitors’ keywords

Any competing products are bound to have keywords similar to your product. This could lead to a situation where your product could appear in search results when consumers are looking for the product of your competition. This helps increase market share and helps poach customers.

→ Analytics helps measure performance and optimize

Google ads provides access to in-depth data. This data can be analyzed to understand the performance of the campaign. This helps optimize the ads better.

Digital Marketing

Conclusion –

Search Engine Marketing is an important part of any digital marketing strategy. This is because of the unique option it affords to advertisers to market to motivated consumers. Search Engine advertising is a smart option for any new business that is starting out.

The importance of SEM in Digital marketing cannot be understated. More and more companies are employing SEM advertising in SEM campaigns to build traffic fast to their websites. Digital marketing is clearly here to stay and is only exponentially growing more as we head towards a more digital life. Search Engine Marketing is just a part of the many facets of digital marketing. A career in digital marketing is therefore becoming a very good option for anyone with an interest in marketing. Take the help of a reputed training organization like Sprintzeal to start a career in digital marketing.

Check out this course to start your career in Digital Marketing –

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A law graduate with an immense passion for research and writing. Loves to travel, read and eat. When not doing that, loves working toward bringing well-researched and informative content to readers. Has experience in, and, is passionate about journalistic pieces, blog posts, review articles, sports coverage, technical research pieces, script-writing, website content, social media marketing, advertising, and creative writing. Sleeps when the ink runs out writing all that.

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