What is Search Engine Marketing?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or sometimes just search marketing, is the concept of positioning a product, business, organization, person, offering, service or information in a search engine so that it appears as close to the top (you could say the Primary Position!) of the search results.

SEM is the combined term for SEO (Search Engine Optimzation) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click or Google AdWords) and is often used colloquially to mean one or the other, depending on whom you speak to. Here at Primary Position, we like to us it as an umbrella term for both.

As Google came to dominate the search market in 2000 and go on to be the de factor search engine in 2004 (which is when we bought PrimaryPosition.com) taking 90% of the search market in the English speaking world (with Bing! Making up most of the other 10% alongside Yahoo! Which eventually bowed out in the 2010’s), almost all search today – especially in key markets like the UK, USA, Ireland and Canada – is performed with Google. After Eric Schmidt joined Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Google launched Google AdWords (which has been rebranded as Google Ads today) – after quickly realizing that people who are searching for products and services also have incredibly high buying intent. Fast forward to 202 and Google commands the lions share of online advertising, posting $134 Billion in 2018 – demonstrating that search is growing and fueling business around the world.