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What Is...

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

With quadrillions of websites competing for attention, gaining visibility over the internet is a challenge to many. SEM is an online marketing technique using the search engines as the publishers. It is also known as Paid Search or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising or Sponsored Ads/Links. Some proponents of SEM also include natural or organic search in this definition (see article on SEM terminology in SearchJinni's Facebook page).

SEM has become one of the most cost effective avenues for many organizations for creating awareness, acquiring new customers or leads and improving sales. Retailers, in particular, have found PPC to be one of the most lucrative sales channels as measured with the consistently high Returns On Investment (ROI) or Returns On Ad Spend (ROAS).

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Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising?

At the very basic, PPC or SEM or paid search are the Sponsored Ads that appear (at the top, bottom or by the side) on a Search Engine Results Pages . The ads (banner or text) can also appear in the publishers' network of partner websites or emails or through mobile devices for maximum exposure. As advertisers, users and technology mature, these Sponsored Ads have become more targeted and effective so much so that PPC has become a must-have online strategy.

One of the primary advantages of using PPC is the potential to reach a worldwide audience at a relatively low cost. Advertisers can choose the geographical markets to advertise their products and services, set a daily budget cap and let the ads run automatically. Furthermore, advanced advertisers can choose to focus on certain demographics or deploy image and mobile-specific ads. There are myriad choices and flexibility to suit all types of advertisers.

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PPC is derived from the Cost Per Click (CPC) model since advertisers only pay when an ad is being clicked on. The other popular cost model is known as Cost Per Mille (CPM) which is Cost Per Thousand Impressions and usually associated with Display Ads. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is an advanced model in which the cost is based on a specific action, e.g. a conversion.

The cost models are used for different objectives in Paid Search, Display and Social Media Ads. SearchJinni advises on the cost models for optimal performance.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO is sometimes confused with the optimization of PPC campaigns. SEO describes the process of improving a website to achieve better ranking for organic search on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

SearchJinni encourages complementing PPC with SEO or vice versa. Although paid search is an effective method of gaining visibility, coupling it with a good ranking in organic search, an organization's credibility is raised. It makes good sense for a company in good standings to be well-positioned on both organic and paid search.

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Conversion Tracking/ Web Analytics?

Another advantage of paid search is that performance is measurable. Conversion tracking tools enable the advertiser to monitor the performance of any PPC campaign right down to the revenues generated from each ad or keyword, if desired. For example an e-commerce enabled retailer may want to measure the effectiveness of its PPC efforts by finding out the weekly number of sales by SKU, associated costs and revenues generated from this channel; the conversion tracking system can reveal the click (on the ad) that converted into a sale and its associated parameters (search query, referral source etc) for further analysis.


Many analytic tools include conversion tracking but are also used for analyzing statistics associated with website visits such as unique visitors and bounce-rate. This set of statistics helps an advertiser in enhancing its website or improving the probability of a successful conversion. There are different third party tools to suit the needs of advertisers.

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