SEM Vs SEO: What is PPC Advertising

SEM Vs SEO: What is PPC Advertising


About the author:

Francisco Leon Toronto SEO Specialist. Francisco is specialized in helping multinational companies expand into foreign markets and capture additional organic growth.

What is SEM, PPC, and Paid Search?

Since the birth and popularity of internet marketing, plenty of search marketing variations have been developed to help businesses get the most out of what the web has to offer.

Over the years, search engine optimization has also paved the way for other types of digital marketing campaigns including SEM and PPC.

They might all sound the same, most especially to newbies. They are all interconnected, however, but the objectives, the strategizing, and the implementation are still different. They can be used all together, but can also be used individually.

What is SEM?

  • SEM is Search Engine Marketing. Back in the days when internet marketing was still relatively new, SEM was used as the collective term to pertain to all sorts of digital search marketing campaigns. It was acceptably used to refer to SEO, or search engine marketing, as well as PPC or pay per click systems. Fast forward to today, SEM is now only used to refer to paid search marketing.
  • Since SEO has built quite a world of its own, SEM became the main term for all types of paid search activities. Pay per click advertising, as well as other paid and sponsored ads on the web are now made one through SEM.
  • Most internet marketing gurus refer to SEM as paid ads marketing. Although SEM used to encompass both organic and paid marketing results when the term was coined some 12 years ago, it is now a whole different story, where SEM is now solely used for anything that is paid. PPC, CPC, Bing Search, Google AdWords, all of which are now part of SEM, where SEO is now clearly out of the picture.


Type and examples of Paid Search

  1. PPC – Pay Per Click advertising; or Pay Per Call: More common is the Pay Per Click, where users have to pay their ads each time they are clicked. Meanwhile, Pay Per Call is where users have to pay for how many times their ads were clicked, where each click was directed to a phone call.
  2. CPC – Cost Per Click: It could work pretty much the same with PPC, but the costing is different as compared to the other one. The cost could be per a certain number of clicks, which could be as much as a hundred or a thousand. The quota usually depends on the contract.
  3. CPM – Cost Per Thousand Impressions: This one is clear on its quota. This platform boasts of only having to pay each time a thousand impressions have already been made. If the impressions turn out to be lower than a thousand, then no amount is ever to be paid. To make it simple, it just means you only get to pay for what you get.
  4. Paid Search Advertising: This campaign is solely depending on sponsored ads. They could be under Google AdWords, Bing Search, and other search engines that offer paid ads for marketing purposes. Usually, their features resemble each other, and only have their pricing packages as clinchers.
  5. Paid Search Ads: Like the previous one, this marketing platform usually just relies on the ads that are sponsored by various search engines. The packages are typically designed for every business line.

sem-and-ppcSEM is a platform that is best for business startups that want to advance to the ladder the shortest amount of time possible. The sponsored ads they offer businesses make the brand awareness process such a breeze, you won’t have to wait the usual many years you have to endure when choosing SEO. While organic results seem to still be making more attention than the paid ones, the conversion of a click to sale is better, as compared to SEO results.

SEM is simply money-backed marketing campaigns done to make sure more clients are being reached, whether they like it or not. Most SEM platforms offer customizing content so as to be more appropriate to the interests of your existing followers or subscribers.

Does SEM include SEO?

  • Most e-commerce gurus see SEO as something entirely different from SEM. They see it as a black and white situation, where SEO is organic, and SEM is paid. Though they both operate and are implemented in the same web, the results they bring are highly varied, which is also what sets the two apart.
  • When you dissect the term SEM, search engine marketing, it is only natural that you think any marketing effort done on a search engine is part of SEM. Perhaps that was the original idea when the term was first coined, but since the internet is much like life, ever changing, the terms have changed their ways as well.
  • Many digital marketing enthusiasts see SEO as part of SEM, simply because they both work on the internet. Any marketing campaign that works on search engines is included in SEM, as they would reason out.

The internet is so fast paced and changes quite fast as well. Working with the internet requires you to always be updated with the trends, and to also adapt well with whatever is happening so as to outlast your immediate rivals and effectively quash the competition as early as possible.

A pioneering name in the industry always does better than those who joined the bandwagon later. However, when that ideal is impossible, then one just has to make the most of what he can have. This is where strategizing and implementation comes into play. To be able to get in the competition and not get lost in the waters, a business must do its best to reinvent itself and market as much as possible.

As in other types of businesses, advertising and marketing matter a lot to be able to reach out as much patrons as possible. What might set a particular company apart from all the others is the type of marketing and promotions it succumbs to. Choosing the marketing strategy to implement ideally involves the preference of the target audience.

SEM has been constantly reinvented through time, thus the invention and development of more paid ads variations. To know them is to use them, but to use them requires you to really study them and see if they can work well with your business and your market.

For more information on SEO and PPC, visit for seo consulting services.