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Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, is a form of internet marketing that uses search engine page results or site content to direct customers towards products or offerings. SEM advertising campaigns can appear in either search results and or within site content (i.e. contextual advertising).search_engine_marketing_feature Market leaders include Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter. As Google AdWords is the largest SEM competitor, we will demonstrate how you can develop a successful ad campaign using their platform. There are four main elements in Google AdWords: keywords, advertising messages, targeting and budget. To start, you will want to cast a wide net and optimize your efforts as you go. For instance, you will want around 95 keywords to begin, then delete those keywords that are under-performing. Identifying Keywords Keywords are the center of SEM. Determine which keywords customers would use to find your product. Google’s keyword tool can help you find and identify these keywords. For instance, let’s say you’re a florist launching a SEM campaign. In addition to obvious keywords, like "flowers," also be sure to words that describe your product (e.g. tulips, roses, etc), the competition (e.g. 1800flowers), events and holidays (e.g. birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day). In the end, you should have at least 95 keywords — the more the better. Developing Ads With this information, you will develop around three to four SEM ads — each promoting a different element of your business. For instance, one of the ad campaigns might be, "Flowers for her birthday, Give her the gift of love" and though your audience might have a disposable income, they might be savvy shoppers — so throw in a campaign that advertises discounts. In all advertisements, Google recommends that you use keywords to catch customers attention. Targeting Your Audience One of the most helpful features in Google AdWords is geo-targeting. Geo-targeting (also called "Location") means only those people in your specified market will see your ad. In this instance, people in Idaho are not going to see your ad if you’re based in Rochester and Philadelphia. As you are trying to collect as much data as possible, be sure to include surrounding towns, such as Henrietta, Pittsford, Narberth and Main Line. Deciding Your Budget Lastly, you will need to set a budget. To determine your maximum...

To read more about search engine marketing, go to Sparxoo, a digital marketing, branding and business development blog.