Search engine marketing (SEM) is a branch of online marketing and includes any promotional measures to attract visitors to a website via web search engines. Search engine marketing is divided into search engine advertising (SEA) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Frequently SEM is also used as a synonym for search advertising, which refers to the insertion of advertising displays, so-called Sponsors Links (Paid Listing) that, according to the principle of keyword advertising, are displayed on the search results page refers.
The aim of search engine marketing is to improve the visibility within the search engine results lists. A distinction can be made between the organic search results influenced by a search engine optimization, and the purchased advertisements. The search engine marketing activities lead to an ad on one of the top places that will appear in the search engine results. Here, the organic search engine results are not in competition with the advertising. For both result lists on the result pages there are predefined areas. Both the organic search results and the advertisements are based on the search engine ranking factors that have a certain weight within the search engine algorithms. Neither of the two lists of results has an impact on the presentation of others. Ad serving the advertising display is based on the keyword advertising principle, that is, to buy a position on the first page of search engine results for specific keywords. In the major search engines (Google , Yahoo and Bing) paid search results are summarized in an advertising block and so visually lifted from the unpaid (organic) results.
In addition to the direct promotion of products, search engine marketing is also gaining in the public relations and corporate branding, so is becoming increasingly important.
The search engine marketing is usually used for big clients by larger media agency companies or specialized AdWords agencies. For small and medium businesses, search engine marketing is mainly the responsibility of the internal marketing department.
A number of measures to place your own page at the forefront within the organic search engine result lists that are manipulative in nature and are valued by the search engines self-critical. The boundaries between acceptable methods of search engine optimization, which adhere to the guidelines of the search engines, and unacceptable manipulations as spamdexing, are fluid. The case law on the question of admissibility of misleading competition keywords is uneven.
Translated and adapted from Wikipedia.