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SEM - Search Engine Marketing


How do I get more online traffic?


“How is this possible?” you might ask. Well, it’s simple! Google AdWords is how. It used to be a matter of ‘outbidding’ your competition in order to place higher in the paid search result listings. You might say that this was their ‘bread and butter,’ but not anymore. There are many factors that can decide how your ad campaign ranks against your competition. These can be found in the descriptions below. The plus side of having a Google AdWords campaign is the power to choose ‘to who’ and ‘how’ you wish to advertise. By targeting such things as geo-specific areas, genders, age groups, interests and behaviours, you will limit your ad presence only to those in need of your services. This reduces the cost of advertising, but more importantly, it will improve your ad quality; that is how your ad will be found easier, and rank higher on search engine results pages.

What is SEM?


In the online marketing world, you’ve probably heard of the term SEM or Search Engine Marketing. The description and the use of this term has changed over the years, so it can be a bit confusing. In the past, SEM referred to both SEM and SEO as the same, which was also known as Search Marketing. Today, their definitions aren't so much the same. SEO refers to lead and traffic generation through unpaid listings. SEM refers to only paid search activities and campaigns such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or other Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns.

Let's Clear Things Up For You!

Listed below is a dictionary we’ve compiled of some of the confusing terms you may come across in the online marketing world. These terms are just a few of many, but they are the most common ones. If you think this list is missing any terms and explanations, then please feel free to contact our marketing specialists at

Pay Per Click (PPC)Pay Per Click is an online marketing campaign that is used for platforms such as Google Adwords, Facebook and LinkedIn. ‘Pay Per Click’ is when each time a potential customer clicks on your ad, and you then have to ‘pay’ for that click.
Cost Per Click (CPC)This is the ‘cost’ that you must pay each time someone clicks on your ad. The Cost Per Click will change depending on other businesses and their online marketing strategies. Your aim should always be to have the most efficient and cheapest Cost Per Click.
Cost Per Click (CPC)This is the ‘cost’ that you must pay each time someone clicks on your ad. The Cost Per Click will change depending on other businesses and their online marketing strategies. Your aim should always be to have the most efficient and cheapest Cost Per Click.
KeywordKeywords are the words someone might search for in a Search Engine. Through search engine marketing, you bid on keywords in order to attract visitors to your website or to your Landing Page. Including these keywords in your site is a big part of successful SEO.
Bounce RateThe visitors to a site will sometimes navigate away from that site after viewing just one page. The percentage of these people is called the Bounce Rate.
White Hat SEOThis is the correct SEO method that is accepted by all Search Engines. Such techniques are highly endorsed, and will help your site's rankings over time.
Black Hat SEOThe opposite of White Hat SEO, this refers to ways of ‘tricking’ the Search Engines into getting the best rankings for your site. Using these methods though, can lead to a large drop to your rankings, or even banned from the Search Engines.
Click Through Rate (CTR)The number of people that ‘click’ on a link out of the total users that view a page or ad. The Click Through Rate method is a technique that is used to measure the success of an online ad campaign. Relevant and appealing text in your ad will attract more viewers, and result in a higher Click Through Rate.
Conversion RateThe Conversion Rate is a formula used by all of the major search engines. It divides the total number of visitors to your site, by the total number of visitors who made a conversion on your site. A common technique used to do this is by adding a form to your landing page.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)The CPA is a cost effective method of advertising. It is an agreed upon event, such as a sale or lead, that you pay for only when your ad has converted. This method is also known as Cost Per Conversion.
Cost Per Impression (CPM)The cost you agree to pay for every 1,000 impressions that your ad receives. If a website publisher charges $3 CPM, you must pay $3 for every 1,000 impressions of that ad. The name may seem misleading, but the ‘M’ in CPM stands for 1,000 in Roman Numerals. This cost structure is mainly used for banner advertising.
Domain NameThe main address of a website is it's Domain Name. For example, the Domain Name for is
Facebook RetargetingThis is when ads are retargeted to former visitors from your site while they are on Facebook. The process goes like this: a person visits your site and leaves without doing what you want them to do (bounce traffic - see 'bounce rate' above). While browsing on Facebook, they see and engage with the ads that you retargeted. They then click on the ad and return to your site to do what you want them to do. That's it! In December 2012, Facebook opened its ad exchange allowing partners to offer Facebook Retargeting.
Geo-TargetingThe power to reach potential clients by their physical location. It is offered by the major Search Engines. This is done by viewing the clients' IP addresses in their Pay Per Click campaigns. It allows you to specify who you want to reach, based on just the location.
ImpressionsAn Impression is when your ad is displayed on a page that someone is visiting. For each time it appears, it counts as a single impression, even if no one sees it. When advertising, you do not pay for each Impression. Instead, you pay per 1,000 Impressions. That is why it is important in knowing a site's traffic, and the placement of your ad.
PageRankPageRank is the value in Google's algorithm that is assigned for the pages and the sites that it indexes. Google is known to release the external PageRank of any site. These pages are scored from just one to ten. Google also uses an internal PageRank to determine the results in its search engine. These two types of PageRank are not the same. But all independent Search Engines have their own version of PageRank. Here is a fun fact for you: PageRank was named for Google's Larry Page, and it is calculated at the page level!
Quality Score (QS)AdWords assigns a score from one to ten to certain account components (campaigns, ads, etc.). This is the Quality Score, and it is only shown to account holders for keywords. The formula has three main components: ad quality (click through rate), ad relevance (including ad extensions), and landing page experience. It can change both the rank and Cost Per Click of the ads. So the higher the QS, the higher your ad appears at lower bids and Cost Per Click.
RankThe position that a web page, or site, is listed in a Search Engine's results. For example, if your website is about phones, when a person queries 'phones' in a Search Engine, your ranking shows where in the search results your web page is listed (e.g. within the top 10 results, on the first page, the 200th page, etc.).
RetargetingThis refers to the retargeting of ads to former visitors of a web site. When someone leaves a web site, your ad will 'follow' them to other sites. This is done by placing cookies on their browser. Before an ad can be retargeted, the site must accept ads from your ad network first. Retargeting can be done through various ad networks and platforms.
Return on Investment (ROI)For many companies, this is their key statistic. It evaluates the efficiency of their investment. You have to ask yourself "Are your ads generating profits?" and "How much profit have you made from the cost of the investment?" So from this we can say that a high ROI means that the gains favour the cost.
Search Engine Results PageAlso known as SERPs, these are site pages displayed by a Search Engine for any search query. Both Natural (Organic) Listings and Pay Per Click ads are displayed. SEO and SEM will determine how high your listing is displayed, and where your ad is shown.
Web CrawlerThis is also known as a Web Spider, and it is a part of the Search Engine that 'crawls' the Web. It gathers information for the purpose of Web Indexing. Web Crawlers copy the pages they visit and index them to allow users to search the web more efficiently.
Web SpiderAlso known as a 'web crawler' or a 'bot,' a Web Spider is a program that visits web sites through linked pages. It reads these pages and other information to create entries for a search engine index. The information that is gathered is used to include the site in the Natural Listings. It is also used to determine the sites' ranking based on a range of search terms.