“Search Engine Marketing” was
once was used as an umbrella term to encompass both SEO (search engine
optimization) and paid search activities.
At Search Engine Land, we generally
use SEM and/or “Paid Search” to refer to paid listings, with the longer term of
search marketing used to encompass both SEO and SEM. Below
are some of the most common terms also used to refer to SEM activities:
Paid search advertising
The concept behind Search Engine
Marketing is quite simple: when a consumer searches the Web through either a
text box or by clicking through a directory hierarchy, he or she is in "hunt
mode." This psychological state is unique because it signals to the
search engine (and to marketers) that the person is looking for information.
Marketers understand that this
"hunt mode" means that the searcher may very well be at the
beginning, middle, or end stages of the buying cycle. When someone is
researching a product or service to satisfy an immediate or future need they
are in an unusual state: they desire relevant information and
are open to digesting and acting on the information at their fingertips, all
made possible by a search engine. This makes search engine results some of the
best sources of targeted traffic, whether this traffic originates
from "organic" unpaid search listings or paid advertising listings.
Google AdWords is by many
measures the most popular paid search platform used by search marketers,
followed by Bing Ads, which also serves a significant portion of ads on Yahoo.