The internet not only changed the way people interact with one another, it gave companies another avenue of advertising. As businesses realized that the internet was becoming the first source of information when searching for a company, they began to see the potential for promoting their business. With more and more companies developing web pages and business listings, an organizational structure to how consumers found the company began to develop.

Companies such as Yahoo! and Google began to help people find the information they needed quickly. To help finance this organizational structure, the ‘search engine’ or the software platform used to locate and deliver the information began to charge for placement on the search results. If you wanted consumers to find your business quickly, you could pay to have your website advertised.

Since the early days of the internet, search engine marketing has evolved into a complex method of optimizing web searches and has developed into a highly specialized field of web design.

Search engine marketing (SEM) includes the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is the process of writing and rewriting website content to have a higher search engine ranking position (SERP) as well as pay per click advertisement functions.

If your company sold apples, for example, you would want anyone who performed an internet search on “apples for sale” to find a listing for your company. You know, however, that there are thousands of companies that sell apples, so the goal is to be one of the first companies they see on their results page.

You could hire a SEM expert, who would help you ensure that your ranking would be among the first apple selling companies. Your marketing master would add well-written content to your website, allowing the search engine to find your site easier. They would also install pay per click advertisements for your company on other websites – such as a website that is dedicated to recipes. If a consumer performs a search for ‘apple recipes’, your company ad would show up on the page – along with a variety of apple recipes.

Search engine marketing is currently the fastest growing advertising method. A well-crafted plan for SEM can improve not only visibility, but can increase sales as more potential customers find your internet listing and translate the discovery into a sale.