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Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a marketing method to promote a website in search engine results pages using a mixture of online marketing and advertising. It is similar to Search Engine Optimization and may include SEO to help improve a website’s rank in organic listings. Most often, however, it involves purchasing paid listings.

Paid listings are also known as – Paid Placement, Pay-for Performance, Pay-per-Click (PPC) and Cost-per-Click (CPC). These items are directly related tot the sponsored ads the Search Engines show on search query results pages. Pay-per-Click advertisements are usually text ads placed near search results when a query is completed by the search engine. When a visitor clicks on the advertisement, the advertiser is charged a small amount. However, as more people become aware of and jump into SEM the cost of Pay-per-Click is skyrocketing.

The most popular Pay-per-Click search engines are Google, AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture). Other engines include Findwhat, Shopping.com, NexTag, BizRate and Price Grabber.

Depending on the search engine, minimum prices per click start at US $.01. Popular search items can cost much more per click on popular engines and can be subject to fierce bidding.

Search Engine Marketing may also contain purchasing banner ads, links, or paid inclusion. Paid Inclusion is not as widely known as some of the other terms above.

Paid inclusion is an advertising program where pages are guaranteed to be included in a search engine's index in exchange for payment, though no guarantee of ranking well is typically given. For example, Looksmart is a directory that lists pages and sites not based on position but based on relevance. Marketers pay to be included in the directory, on a CPC basis or per-URL fee basis, with no guarantee of specific placement.*

Web Search Engineer focus on only the top three Search Engines for your Search Engine Marketing needs. These three: Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search cover most English speaking countries and all of North America. Of these three only Google and Yahoo offer sponsored ads - MSN will be offering their sponsored ads in mid 2006.

Web Search Engineer focuses on only the top three search engines for your search engine marketing needs – Google, Yahoo and MSN. These three cover most search queries carried out in English speaking countries, especially all of North America.

To learn about Web Search Engineer's Search Engine Marketing Services, please visit my Services page. For more information about the differences between web pages that appear organically and paid sponsored ads in search results, please see my "What is an Organic Listing / Sponsored Ad?" Flash tutorial movie on my SEO/SEM Videos page.

What is Search Engine Marketing?

*Source: Did-It.com