Search Engine Marketing or ‘SEM’ is a form of Internet marketing for the websites to increase their visibility in the search engine result pages. The basic and most powerful way of SEM is search engine optimization (SEO). But this is not a some day’s work, it needs a lot of time and regular work on the individual web pages to get the site listed on top of the SERPs. In short, it takes time to perform SEO. So there are other ways to increase the visibility of the website till you invest your time for SEO.
Other ways that comes under SEM are paid placements in major search engines, contextual advertisements and such other methods to get the visibility in the search engines. You will find some sites with no SEO at all. Some website owners think that they do not need this and their business is running fine and do not need to invest time or money for Search Engine Marketing.
But the majority of Internet users use search engines (Google, Yahoo etc...) just to find what they want. So even if your business is running good, you should also be visible when someone searches or is interested in your product or service area. And if you are not there, it means you have lost that deal, and one deal does not always closes with one deal, it could lead to many more. So the fact is SEM is a must for every website.
SEO is basically done to get your site appearance at the first page or in the initial pages of the search engine. And as you know it takes time to get the first few positions, you may have to go for some paid search, it means you will pay to the search engine to get you listed at the top, which is popularly known as PPC (Pay Per Click) advertisement. For Google, it is known as 'Google AdWords'. So, whenever a user searches for a particular word or set of words, you will get listed at top, and you are ready to pay the agreed cost to the search engine, if that user clicks on your website link.
There are other ways also to get you listed in the search engine result pages, but they are not direct links to your site instead they provide link to your site, this is also called as link-building, sometimes as back-links. You can get back links by a number of ways, so more the back links you have, more visibility you will get in the search engine. But these back links should be related with your business. You can write articles related to your industry and post them on your blog, put them on some article submission sites, and you are ready with your links. There are many ways to get the high rankings on the search engines, just what it takes is a bit of time and effort. If you have that, it is great, if not then just go and hire some SEO/SEM company but after doing some good amount of research. Remember SEM raises the online profile and builds brand awareness.