Types of Search Engine Marketing

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Search engine marketing  or SEM can be categorized into three types: pay-per-click, local SEO, and organic SEO. The differences are based on what prompts your display, how long it takes before you show up in search results, and the factors influencing your ability to rank on the first page. Below is a comparison of the three types.


digital marketing advertisement

Also known as cost-per-click, it is a form of advertising where you pay when your ad gets clicked on. Google offers this through Google AdWords where you place bids on keywords or key phrases that will trigger your ads to appear in the sponsored search results. As an advertiser, you only get to pay if your ad gets clicked on. Your advertisements are displayed either at the top or bottom of the first page of the search results. It is displayed with an “Ad” or “Sponsored” label.

The amount of money that you pay and predefined queries will influence when your ad gets displayed. The ads will show up in the search results page as soon as they are configured and paid for. Quality Score is used to determine the CPC, which is then multiplied by your maximum bid for rank determination.

Local SEO

SEO TilesLocal SEO refers to a search engine marketing type that focuses on getting a business listing to show up in the Google Map search results. Clicks are not charged. The local search results stand out due to the presence of a map next to the result. Indicating local intent, which is done by showing a local business category, is what will trigger your business to appear in the local search results. Based on your budget, competition, and starting point, it will take between one and eight months for your business to appear in the results.

Organic SEO

This refers to a process of search engine optimization, which increases the visibility of your content in non-local, outstanding results. The results usually appear in between the PPC results and below the local results. Every keyword or phrase will trigger organic search results. Your content may start to display in the search results after a duration of about four to six months. The ranking is influenced by a variety of factors such as website architecture, content relevancy and quality, backlinks, and competition among many others.