Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to both the organic and paid search during the early days. If you do research, you will find that SEM has different definitions at different places. Wikipedia says that SEM includes organic search, PPC, and SMM. Google defines SEM as paid search while Bing refers SEM to both paid search and organic search.
The most important factor in search engine marketing is keyword. You should optimize your ad with keywords that your customers are likely to use when they are performing a search query. You will have to use a keyword tools to find out the keywords. It is recommended that you use a free keyword tools that let you know about information such as search volume of the keyword on the different search engines, and competition. If possible, you should subscribe to the paid version of the keyword research tool because the free version usually will only show you a few keyword for example the first 10 keywords.
If you are seller, you don't have to search for keyword on free stuff such as free because people who are searching for free stuff will not be interested in buying your stuff. You must take into consideration the search intent when searching for keywords in the keyword research tool. For example, if you are thinking of selling your product, you should add commercial keywords such buy, deal into the search term you use in performing the research in the keyword research tool.
Your ads can be categorized as ad campaigns and ad groups. You can create an ad campaign on a specific product/services. For example, if you have a book store, you can create an ad campaign for all kinds of books including fiction, sci-fi, and children storybooks. Ad groups group similar ad campaigns together. For example, an ad group can group together all the ads on the different types of books you sell at your online book store.
Many people think that they need to have a big budget in order to see results in their advertising campaign. However, this is not the case because Google uses an ad auction to determine whether your ad will appear on the search result. Two factors are taken into account by Google including maximum bid and quality score. Maximum bid is the maximum amount you will pay for per click while quality score is the quality of your advertisement. The ad rank equals to your CPC bid x quality score. For example, if Advertiser A's maximum bid is $5 and the quality score of its ad is 10, the ad rank will be 50 while Advertiser B maximum bid is $2 and the quality score is 6, its rank will be 18. Hence, in this illustration, Advertiser B will rank lower than Advertiser A.
Some of the things that determine your ad quality score are CTR, relevance of content and landing page. If you don't have a big budget, you can focus on the quality score to help your ad achieve a higher position. You must monitor your ad by using an analytic tool such as the Wordstream Performance Grader so that you can improve your ad. By improving your ad, you will be able to save money on the ad. The tool will inform you whether your ad is having a high or low click through rate. If your ad is having a low click through rate, you must improve it otherwise you will be wasting away a lot of money.
It is important that only target your ad on relevant searches so that your ad will appear to users who are really interested about your products/services. The three major search engines that offers online advertising are Google, Yahoo and Bing. Yahoo/Bing is not as good as Google in terms of traffic but keep in mind that some niches will do better on Yahoo/Bing. Users of Yahoo/Bing are usually more interested in buying things so if you should advertise with them if you want to increase sales. Yahoo/Bing is a merger between the Yahoo and Bing search engien so signing upo with them means your ad will displayed on both Yahoo and Bing search engines.