What is Search Engine Marketing SEM


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Last Updated: May 1, 2018

Definition – What does Search Engine Marketing (SEM) mean?

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What Is SEM Does SEM Include SEO

For a term that’s been around since 2001, there are still a great many people asking “what is SEM?”

It would seem that this should be an easy question to answer. After all, SEM has had nearly two decades to settle its definition. And yet, the question is still asked.

The term search engine marketing was popularized in 2001 by Danny Sullivan, then editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land. Danny wanted SEM to describe all search engine marketing initiatives, both organic and paid. Even today, you’ll occasionally see SEM used as a one-size-fits-all term for any marketing involving search engines.

Industry professionals and publications also throw around the term search marketing with ease. This might sound like the same thing, but it isn’t.

And of course, there is also the venerable search engine optimization (SEO) to consider. SEM, Search Marketing, SEO …

With all these terms, no wonder there is still confusion.

What Is SEM?

SEM stands for search engine marketing. As it is commonly used today, SEM describes only the money-backed portion of marketing through a search engine.

SEM involves buying PPC (pay-per-click) ads that display on a search engine results page (SERP for short). Ads may be placed through Google Ads, Bing Ads, or other search engines.

Google results with SEM ads

Google results with SEM ads

You know you’re doing SEM if …

When you give a search engine money to appear on their SERP, you’re doing SEM.

Common SEM concerns are cost per click and cost per acquisition (CPC and CPA). These indicate how much money is being spent on search advertising, and whether the return is worth it. As you begin to implement advertisements across search engines, consider how dynamic ads can supercharge your SEM campaigns.

Some other important terms used in the world of SEM include:

  • Retargeting
  • Geotargeting
  • Dayparting
  • Demographic targeting
  • Mobile targeting
  • and many more

Another part of what is SEM has to do with why SEM is important to search engines. SEM is the area where search engines make most of their money. As a result, paid search advertising takes precision so that ad dollars aren’t wasted. That makes SEM a marketing specialty of rapid change, one of the more exciting frontiers in search.

Does “Search Engine Marketing” Include SEO?

The short answer is no. SEM and SEO are now two different roles.

The longer answer is: “Not anymore, but it’s complicated.”

When Danny Sullivan spoke about SEM back in 2001, he used it as a catch-all to describe all efforts that encouraged website traffic from search engine results pages — including paid and organic search initiatives. According to Danny then, both SEO and PPC folks worked in search engine marketing. Simple. Clear. This definition was accepted by the industry at the time.

Yet in the 18 years since, the common understanding of the term SEM has shifted.

What caused this change? A few possible causes include Wikipedia’s page on SEM being entirely skewed toward paid efforts; Yahoo’s push of their PPC solution; and the general alphabet soup of confusing marketing acronyms. (For a detailed history of the term SEM, see Danny’s recap from 2010.)

Whatever the reason, the answer to the question “what is SEM” has definitively changed. SEM now means paid.

Today when you head to Search Engine Land, you’ll find SEM defined this way:

“SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines.”

That clearly includes pay per click, local search ads, product listing ads, and all advertising efforts with regard to search engines.

What about “Search Marketing”?

 

SEM means ads; search marketing includes SEM and SEO

SEM means ads; search marketing includes SEM and SEO

In place of SEM as an umbrella term, the industry coined the phrase “search marketing” (without “engine”).

Again looking at SEL, the definition of search marketing is:

“Search marketing is the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid efforts.”

You may recognize that definition as Danny’s original meaning for SEM.

Defining SEM for the Future

Raise your hand if you think “SEM” is done evolving. Anyone?

I see signs that SEM will expand in meaning in the future.

In 2019, search marketing conferences are including more than just search engine advertising within the track called “SEM.”

Exhibit A: SMX West

The upcoming SMX West conference divides their tracks into SEO (organic) and SEM (paid). So that division is clear. You can expect to learn about organic ranking in the SEO track. In the SEM track, sessions focus on PPC topics like improving a Google Ads campaign.

What’s striking is the addition of advertising platforms besides Google and Bing. Sessions in the SEM track also talk about:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Amazon

SEM description at SMX West

SEM description at SMX West

Exhibit B: Pubcon Las Vegas
I wondered if SMX was just an exception here. So I looked at another big marketing event, Pubcon.

It turns out that Pubcon’s “SEM” theme also covers more than just traditional search engines. Facebook advertising makes the cut. And there could be others that just aren’t mentioned in the summary description.

Pubcon SEM description

Pubcon SEM description

At least in the context of conferences, SEM can mean any variety of online ad placement. (This is somewhat
counter intuitive.)

No longer are sessions merely focused on Google and Bing. They cover non-search outlets that accept ads, too.

Will this lead to another shift in the definition of SEM? Or will another term entirely take over to encapsulate the always evolving and always exciting world of internet marketing?

The scope of what we do as search marketers has grown. So should our definitions.

Search marketing, in my view, now has to include more than just organic SEO and paid SEM in the major search engines. It also involves video, server issues, site performance, voice, YouTube, Amazon, and the list goes on.

One thing is certain — the search industry continues to develop. So too will the language we use to describe it.

If you find yourself asking what is SEM 10 years from now and discover that the answer has changed once again, at least you won’t be surprised.

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    Project management focuses on planning and organizing a project and its resources. This includes identifying and managing the lifecycle to be used, applying it to the user-centered design process, formulating the project team, and efficiently guiding the team through all phases until project completion.

    Value of Project Management

    Through proper project management, you can assure that the purpose/vision and goals of the project are maintained, all while supporting the audiences’ tasks and objectives.  Additionally, you avoid risks and effectively and efficiently use your available resources.  It also helps the team members to understand their responsibilities, the deliverables expected, and the schedule everyone needs to follow to complete the project on time and within budget.

    Areas within Project Management

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    When defining your project, it is important to come up with a project plan that the team agrees to upfront so that it can serve as a reference point throughout the project. Make sure when outlining your plan, that throughout it you note how you plan to include user-centered design best practices and methodologies. Most project plans outline:

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    At the end of the project plan, depending on your team’s needs, you may choose to include a charter agreement. A charter agreement is typically a one page document that has the sponsor of the project sign off that they agree to the work to be done as outlined by the team in the project plan. Remember, however, that successful teams understand upfront that things happen and that they’ll need to adapt. The project plan establishes the baseline for how you assume the project will happen and then provides information about the process for taking changes into account, should they arise.

    Creating a Schedule

    Schedules are an important part of project management because they help you measure your progress as the project moves along.  They also help to outline how each team member’s part fits into the overall picture and demonstrate the dependencies.

    Schedules reflect the life cycle broken down into specific deliverables and touch points.  It defines what needs to be done and who is the point of contact responsible for the work. 

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    Simplify programmatic computing and standardise server interactions with the new HPE ProLiant Gen9 and Gen10 API in conformance with Redfish 1.0.

    RESTful Interface Tool

    Scripting tool that leverages the iLO RESTful API for secure, remote server configurations at scale.

    Active Health System Viewer

    Easily read your active health system logs, get actionable insight into the health of your server, and speed problem resolution.

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    Featured case study

    Hudson Alpha logo

    REDUCING GENOME-ANALYSIS WORKLOAD TIME TO SECONDS

    The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology conducts data-intensive genome research with demanding infrastructure requirements – critical for supporting the intensive collaboration and analysis that are central to scientific breakthroughs.

    Challenge

    With hundreds of researchers, educators and entrepreneurs on campus at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, IT resources were pushed to the limit.

    Solution

    HudsonAlpha used HPE OneView to speed the time to usable data, enhance self-service capabilities, and enable its developers to automate operations and provision new cloud environments rapidly.

    “Immediately it provided an increase in speed. We’re able to bring all the needs of our 34 companies and 200 researchers together and use our resources in the most efficient manner possible.”

    Jim Hudson, Co-founder and Chairman, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

    Result

    With HPE Synergy, HudsonAlpha is able to balance cost and performance requirements and enable a dynamic, flexible, cost-effective infrastructure, resulting in higher staff productivity, more efficient IT operations, and a five-year ROI of 247%.

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    HOW WE’RE HELPING

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    HPE Discover Virtual Experience Starting 23 June

    We’re here to help. Register now and get everything you need to address your challenges today and transform for the future.

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    Nine steps to the new normal

    Coronavirus demands an immediate and a longer-term crisis management plan that readies the company to succeed in a changed world. See this nine-step guide.

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    Security checklist for working at home

    There are, perhaps, as many work-at-home computing configurations as there are workers, so security is hard. Check out these guidelines to follow.

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    Telemedicine reduces healthcare workloads and increases access

    New technologies that go beyond the expected boundaries of the current healthcare system look to become the new standard of care.

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    Using sound technologies to improve the world

    Need a reason to say “Oh, cool”? Scientists are doing innovative research that can improve the quality of life. Here are six examples to brighten your day.

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    HPE opens its patents to fight COVID-19

    HPE signed the Open COVID Pledge, granting free access to all of its patented technologies. Organisations are now free to use HPE technologies to combat COVID-19.

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    HPE CEO: As long as hope remains, we can make it through this

    We are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. However, this situation will not end overnight, and we all need to remain steadfast in our resolve.

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    HPE offers $2 billion to help weather COVID-19

    HPE Financial Services is designating $2 billion to help customers and partners preserve cash flow, defer or reduce expenses, and relieve delivery delays.

    Free online digital learning

    One month free access to explore HPE technologies, hottest industry topics and key skills with HPE Digital Learner. Team members working remotely can feel connected while building their personal skills.

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    A message from Antonio

    We know COVID-19 is concerning, so we wanted to share a quick update from our CEO Antonio Neri about how we at HPE are addressing this rapidly evolving situation.

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    What Is PBX

    Best PBX Providers

    There are numerous telecoms brands in the PBX space, with some big names able to tackle your business’s telephone system needs. Below, we round up some of the main PBX providers you may come across:

    PBX Provider Summary
    Mitel

    Mitel specializes in host-based phone solutions, though they do also offer on-site services as well. Using their proprietary technology, they offer feature-rich but simple phones, and promise one low, per-user monthly charge with no hidden fees.
    While the hardware is hosted off site, you can take advantage of their intuitive web-based administration of your system from your computer.
    3CX

    3CX offers a software-based solution for your IP PBX needs, and promises to reduce your telephone costs by up to 70%. Its software can be installed in and operated from Windows, eliminating the need for advanced telecom skills.
    Plus, it can be configured to work with popular IP phones and VoIP gateways, and easily integrated with your employees’ smart phones.
    XO Communications

    XO Communications offers both managed and converged IP network services, with a focus on small and mid-sized operations. Their services include design, consultation, installation, and training.

    Which PBX provider is right for your business? The answer is never one-size-fits-all.

    The most important thing is understand the costs for installing a PBX system for your business, not anyone else’s. That means comparing quotes for the scale of operation that you’re running, and the specific business phone setup that has the features you’ll actually use.

    We have a handy Business Phone Quotes Comparison Tool you can use – simple fill in a few key details and we can serve you with quotes from various providers.

    PBX Jargon Explained

    When you’re choosing a PBX system, you’re likely to come across a few key terms. Below, we explain the main PBX technical phrases you’ll encounter:

    Telephone trunks

    A telephone trunk provides network access to many employees by sharing a certain number of lines, as opposed to providing them individually. It might help to think of it like a tree, which has one trunk and many branches.

    When it comes to a PBX, the number of ‘trunk lines’ refers to the number of lines coming into the system from the telephone provider.

    SIP Trunking is a form of trunking commonly used to upgrade traditional PBX systems to modern IP-PBXs, allowing multiple users to connect to both the analog Public Switched Telephone Network, and the internet, using VoIP.

    Hardware / software

    The technology used for PBX systems performs the duties of old-fashioned telephone operators.

    Essentially, it takes an incoming call and routes or switches it to the correct destination. The size and storage of the hardware varies depending on which type of PBX system you choose, and in many cases the software can integrate with or replace that of your old phone system.

    Network of lines

    The network of lines refers to the number of lines in use for your enterprise. These can be phone lines for your office, VoIP lines for the internet, or even lines that connect incoming calls to your business with your mobile phone or off-site line.

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    Managed Services


    Managed Servicesadmin2020-05-19T16:05:31-05:00

    REDUCE DOWNTIME, LEVERAGE EXPERTISE, & MAXIMIZE BUDGETS

    As IT budgets tighten, it’s even harder for businesses of any and all sizes to manage IT resources and respond quickly and appropriately to change. As an extension of your current support team, our Managed Services team allows you to leverage our expertise so that you’re able to focus on strategic business systems by maximizing the use of your resources.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

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    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    Critical business systems need support 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, which requires available and knowledgeable resources. NRC has the functional and technical staff to comprehensively support and maintain your technology applications with constant vigilance and seamless execution. There are few organizations with the experience, savvy, and dedication of New Resources Consulting; we provide the industry’s finest services and consultants to maximize your resources.

    Our on-demand support option can be utilized for multiple coverage needs, including employee absences (i.e. vacation, maternity, paternity, disability, etc.), new hires getting up to speed, or known peak business demands and system upgrades.

    Our mission is “improvement through technology.” We have been and continue to be a company dedicated to technology solutions and services that strengthen our clients.

    LEARN MORE

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    Organizations can purchase an allocated number of hours on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis that can be used as needed across functional and technical support areas. NRC’s Managed Services Group helps bridge the gap between where you are and where you need to be without losing precious time.

    REDUCE DOWNTIME

    LEVERAGE EXPERTISE

    MAXIMIZE BUDGETS

    Our emergency support contract option provides an ‘insurance policy’ for the support of your critical business systems should any unplanned emergencies occur.

    NRC can help balance your resource needs with the assignment of a few Managed Services team members, negating the time and resource cost associated with finding and hiring high-demand talent.

    GET IN TOUCH

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    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    Berlin Packing had identified multiple technology project initiatives that could enhance their organization’s overall business efficiencies, but they were unable to move them forward due to their staff’s consuming day-to-day responsibilities. NRC’s Managed Services Team provided daily support to allow Berlin’s team to focus on completing their project initiatives while ensuring their overall duties were being met.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    Wake Forest Baptist Health desired constant support (24x 7×365) for all of their PeopleSoft 9.1 modules, as well as the integration points between PeopleSoft and specified third party systems.  Utilizing NRC’s Managed Services Team, Wake Forest receives round-the-clock support for all PeopleSoft modules, including application administration, service support and evolutionary enhancements.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    AO Smith was in the process of sunsetting their PeopleSoft system.  However, they needed support for a few month-end processes that remained in the PeopleSoft system.  Utilizing NRC’s Managed Services Team’s emergent support approach, AO Smith was able to ensure that their system was being successfully and continually maintained.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    HSHS utilized the NRC Managed Services team to assist in a corporate-wide project initiative.  The project included the identification and reduction of duplicate patient records that existed in HSHS’s Epic system.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    Since 2018, NRC has provided emergent support for Veolia’s PeopleSoft system.  This Managed Services Team allows Veolia to know that their business system is supported when needed.  Any issues that arise are addressed and resolved based on a defined Service Level Agreement.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    BIDMC had a unique need for a cross-functional resource that could serve as a system administrator, a developer, and a business analyst when needed.  Recognizing the difficulty to find all of these attributes within one resource, BIDMC employed NRC’s Managed Services team to fulfill those required skill sets on an as-needed basis and within BIDMC’s budget constraints.

    Managed
Services | New Resources Consulting

    In 2018, UW Health began an initiative to move their current on-premise PeopleSoft solution to Oracle Cloud.  Understanding the need for internal resources to concentrate their efforts on the significant initiative, UW Health hired NRC’s Managed Services staff to provide day-to-day technical support.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    First Citizens Bank was upgrading their PeopleSoft system and requested the New Resources Consulting’s Managed Services team to provide additional support during the implementation.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    Raymond James needed support for their Cloud HCM system.  Using NRC’s Managed Services Incremental Support contract option, Raymond James contracted for an number of hours per month that can be used as needed across functional and technical support areas.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    When Manitowoc Company moved to Milwaukee, they lost the assistance of the HRIS team that had been supporting their Oracle Cloud HCM system.  NRC’s Managed Services team was able to provide support with half the resources initially used by Manitowoc.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    Delta Dental internal resources did not have the experience or availability to support their SQL server environment. NRC’s Managed Services team was able to provide overflow SQL server DBA support on an as needed basis.

    Managed Services | New Resources Consulting

    Manpower required support for their global PeopleSoft application. The NRC Managed Services team’s “follow-the-sun” round-the-clock model was used to provide support for Manpower’s offices across the globe.

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