A person who uses a search engine (i.e. Google.com, Yahoo.com, Bing.com) to look for a product or service is actively in search of a solution to their needs. This creates an opportunity for business owners to display highly targeted advertising - unlike other forms of media advertising (which broadcast a message to a broad audience in the hopes of attracting a relatively few number of prospects). For this reason appearing in the results of search engines can be a highly effective for of advertising. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a very important component of the internet marketing strategy of any business owner - because it can get your product or service in these highly coveted search engine results.

How Does SEM Work?

A search engine results page (SERP) can contain a combination of items, including text-based descriptions of websites, images and videos that apply to a particular search query. If you want to get your product or service in the SERPs, you can either earn a position in the results, or pay to appear in them.

SEO - Earning a Position in the SERPs

The search engines scour the Internet for all types of information. Once they gather the information, they categorize it and decide which information appears in their results. If a search engine has numerous pages of results to display, it then has to decide which pieces of information to display on page 1 results. If you want to get your products or services to appear in the first couple of pages, you will need to optimize your website for search engines.

To learn more read -- What is SEO?

PPC - Buying a Position in the SERPs

Optimizing a website for search can take some time. If you want to get immediate placement in search results, you can utilize Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. When a search engine displays results to a user's search query, it will also include text or image based advertising. Since search engines make money from these ads, they give them preferential treatment over the other information displayed. The fee charged for this advertising is performance based - participating businesses will pay a fee for each time a user clicks on one of the ads.

To learn more read -- What is Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising?