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A Complete Guide to SEM (Paid Search)

My Post (8)What is SEM?

When you buy ads on any Search Engine Result Pages to initiate a process to drive incoming website traffic, that is called SEM or Search Engine Marketing. Initially, SEMs were meant to mean any and all activities of a market variety on Search Engines, but recently it has come to mean simply paid search advertising. Remember to not confuse it with display ads, that operate using third-party websites as an alternative to search engines for delivery.

How does it work?

  1. Since advertisers want their ads to pop up when a specific keyword is typed, they select that keyword and keyphrase and add it to the algorithm.
  2. Then the advertisers have to claim how much they can bid on every click.
  3. In the event that a consumer does press the relevant keyword, a bunch of ads would display with the highest bidder’s ads coming out on top and other alternatives subsequently.
  4. If the client decides to check out the first ad, the bidder will be charged for it.

A Brief History of Search Ads

  1. 1990- Archie, the world’s numero uno search engine was developed by Alan Emtage. This was the first engine to search FTP sites which were then used to create a downloadable file index.
  2. 1994- Altavista was brought out- leading to the first site which would allow queries in national languages. It also offered unlimited bandwidth and several other features for the first time.
  3. 1994- Yahoo comes to the foray with its search engine which had its own collection of websites it favored with a description with every URL.
  4. 1996- Sergey Brin and Larry Page start-up Google- a search engine that would solely explore the relationship between two or more websites.
  5. 1997- Yahoo gets the chance to buy Google for a measly price of $1 million. They refuse on the deal, and Google as of 2020 has a valuation of over $100 billion.
  6. 1999- GoTo is formed, which becomes the first company to introduce pay-for-placement for brands to advertise.
  7. 2000- There is a dearth of online advertisers, as the search engine collapses due to the popping of the dot com bubble.
  8. 2000- Google becomes the first company to introduce ‘Adwords’, and a new feature called ‘Quality Score’ where they would rate every single website based on the price of bidding and the clickthrough rates.
  9. 2002- CPC bidding is introduced by Google which allows bidders to start bidding on maximum CPC rather than actual CPC.
  10. 2004- Google hits a share market peak of 84.7% of all search engine searches, and its valuation reaches $23.1 billion.
  11. 2005- Google Analytics is introduced which helps the advertisers to have more control over the ads they bring out.
  12. 2008- Google’s Quality Score feature is updated to allow for more changes to make sure the rankings are appropriate and relevant.
  13. 2010- Microsoft releases its own search engine called ‘Bing’. They collaborate with Yahoo to start taking control of the market from Google.
  14. 2014- Advertising on the internet keeps rising, with an increase of over 90% on mobile advertising.
  15. 2018- Google decided to rebrand the features DoubleClick and AdWords as ‘Google Ads Manager’, and ‘Google Ads’.
  16. Present Day- Search engines are continuously tinkered with to give the best possible outcome and search results for users- also making it easier for advertisers to bid and place ads.

Why SEM Works for Businesses

SEM works for businesses because it gives a brand much-needed exposure. It also provides a website with consistent traffic and views. An SEM has a large global outreach, and can also use comprehensive targeting capabilities.

Search Advertising Platforms

There are three main search advertising platforms- Yahoo, Bing, and Google. Now, you don’t have to think that these are simply competing with each other. Rather, they do complement each other- thereby taking your ads to different places, and providing multiple perspectives. – Read more