August 13, 2010

Essentials of Search engine marketing or SEM

NEW YORK - JUNE 9:  Jeff Gattis of Microsoft d...

Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) through the use of paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion. The industry peak body Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) founded by Barbara Coll in 2003, includes search engine optimization (SEO) within its reporting, and SEO is also included in the industry definitions of SEM by Forrester Research, eMarketer, Search Engine Watch, and industry expert Danny Sullivan. The New York Times defines SEM as 'the practice of buying paid search listings'.

Market structure
In 2006, North American advertisers spent US$9.4 billion on search engine marketing, a 62% increase over the prior year and a 750% increase over the 2002 year. The largest SEM vendors are Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter. As of 2006, SEM was growing much faster than traditional advertising and even other channels of online marketing. Because of the complex technology, a secondary "search marketing agency" market has evolved. Many marketers have difficulty understanding search engine marketing and they rely on third party agencies to manage their search marketing.

History
As the number of sites on the Web increased in the mid-to-late 90s, search engines started appearing to help people find information quickly. Search engines developed business models to finance their services, such as pay per click programs offered by Open Text in 1996 and then Goto.com in 1998. Goto.com later changed its name to Overture in 2001, and was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003, and now offers paid search opportunities for advertisers through Yahoo! Search Marketing. Google also began to offer advertisements on search results pages in 2000 through the Google AdWords program. By 2007, pay-per-click programs proved to be primary money-makers for search engines.

Search engine optimization consultants expanded their offerings to help businesses learn about and use the advertising opportunities offered by search engines, and new agencies focusing primarily upon marketing and advertising through search engines emerged. The term "Search Engine Marketing" was proposed by Danny Sullivan in 2001 to cover the spectrum of activities involved in performing SEO, managing paid listings at the search engines, submitting sites to directories, and developing online marketing strategies for businesses, organizations, and individuals.

Some of the latest theoretical advances include Search Engine Marketing Management(SEMM). SEMM relates to activities including SEO but focuses on return on investment (ROI) management instead of relevant traffic building (as is the case of mainstream SEO). SEMM also integrates organic SEO and PayPerClick SEO. For example some of the attention is placed on the web page layout design and how content and information is displayed to the website visitor.

Ethical questions

Paid search advertising has not been without controversy, and the issue of how search engines present advertising on their search result pages has been the target of a series of studies and reports by Consumer Reports WebWatch. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also issued a letter in 2002 about the importance of disclosure of paid advertising on search engines, in response to a complaint from Commercial Alert, a consumer advocacy group with ties to Ralph Nader.

Vested interests appear to use the expression SEM to mean exclusively Pay per click advertising to the extent that the wider advertising and marketing community have accepted this narrow definition. Such usage excludes the wider search marketing community that is engaged in other forms of SEM such as Search Engine Optimization and Search Retargeting.

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Tomboy

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