What on earth is SEM?

Hear people constantly talking about SEM, but still feel like you’re in the dark? Let us shed some light on this important concept for you. SEM is an acronym that stands for search engine marketing and refers to all marketing strategies to increase search engine optimization. In other words, all the things you can do to boost your website’s visibility and generate more traffic from search engines.

Under the SEM umbrella, you’ll find search engine optimization (SEO), search engine advertising (SEA) and social media optimization (SMO).

Just remember: SEM = SEO + SEA + SMO.


Search engine optimization (SEO) covers all optimization techniques to improve your search engine rankings and increase your search visibility. SEO requires daily effort to optimize your website based on specific keywords and key expressions. The goal is to always show up in the first results internet search engine users see.


Search engine advertising (SEA) includes all paid practices for increasing your website’s visibility on search engines. For instance, you can buy strategic keywords and create sponsored links or paid ads to guarantee a spot on the first page of search results. Google’s Adwords programs, one example of SEA, lets you create ads and share them on the pages of search results.


Social media optimization (SMO) refers to all social media optimization strategies to optimize your presence on social media and build community interactions. The goal of SMO is to drive traffic to your website from different social media platforms. This can happen in two ways: creating interactions with your target audience and developing advertising campaigns.

Where to start?

As with any marketing strategy, the first step is identifying what kind of marketing suits you best. You will need to analyze the purchasing habits of your customer in order to determine how to get the best return on investment for your online marketing budget. You will then need to set objectives, establish a budget and target audience, and select the platforms, type of campaigns and search engine ad keywords that you will be using. But take note: launching a campaign is just step one!

Optimal success depends on regularly revisiting  your campaigns to make sure to keep them fresh. You should invest a greater proportion of your budget in the campaigns that perform best, change content that is not driving as much traffic and completely drop campaigns that are not achieving the desired results. You need to track, measure and analyze your campaigns in order to optimize them and get the best return on your investment. 

Don’t have time for all this? Let the pros handle it!

Business owners often wear many hats. By leaving your SEM investments to the professionals, you can take care of everything else without driving yourself to exhaustion. You’ll be saving yourself time and effort, as well as steering clear of pitfalls that can trip up beginners. Plus, you’ll be stacking the odds in your favour when it comes to optimizing your results! Remember that an SEM strategy isn’t to be taken lightly. A well-designed plan can have a significant positive impact on your company’s performance. And it’s not so easy to just jump into the role of SEM specialist: an effective strategy calls for a keen understanding of the web and a mastery of digital tools.