Now it’s time to talk about search engine marketing. Lead generation marketing is useful, as is SEO, but neither should be the only thing you do, particularly if you’re getting a little fed up with how long things are taking.

SEO delivers powerful results, but it can also take weeks to months for the results to show up. Fortunately, search engine marketing, from here on out referred to as SEM, lets you skip some steps and save a lot of time.

SEO and SEM used to fall under the same umbrella, but no longer. They’re very much related, but they’re also very much each their own things.

While SEO focuses on keywords and organic rankings, SEM emphasizes the ‘Ad’ slots. Basically, you’re paying to play. Your ads show up on the search engine pages for anyone looking up keywords you target, and since they’re ads you’re placing, they get seen before any of the organic listings. It’s much easier to rank for these.

You never want to ignore or skip SEO. It’s far more cost-effective in the long run, and it gives you ‘free’ clicks from traffic, so you want to make the most of those. Then again, it can take time. SEM lets you speed up your brand building and client base. You can target those actively looking for services and products, even brands, just like the ones you offer. You can also use SEM to beat out everyone else for attention above the organic listings while your SEO campaign slowly moves you up to the first page and then up the actual first page.

Most every search engine has an ad platform for SEM use. The best place to start is Google AdWords. That’s partly because Google is the most prominent search engine on the planet. It’s also due to the fact that AdWords is very effective. Still, you can branch out to Yahoo Search Ads and Bing Ads if you want to.

You should note that while every SEM platform uses pay-per-click advertising models, it doesn’t mean that every PPC option is actually SEM. Social media platforms like Facebook ads are PPC platforms, but they don’t fall under the SEM label. Social media marketing is yet another way to go, but different from SEM.

The two primary factors behind success or failure here are the keywords you target and how you handle the bidding. All SEM platforms do ad costs based on bidding, and bidding wars can impact just how many ads you can afford to run or the number of clicks you can get. The quality of your ads and your landing pages will also matter too. It’s a very tricky balancing act, but the right keyword research can find potential goldmines that don’t have much traffic or competition, and that’s another thing we can help you out with if you want.