SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines.

Search Engine Marketing was once was used as an umbrella term to encompass both SEO (search engine optimization) and paid search activities. Over time, the industry has adopted the SEM acronym to refer solely to paid search

At MyNew Technologies, we generally use SEM and/or Paid Search to refer to paid listings, with the longer term of search marketing used to encompass both SEO and SEM.

Below are some of the most common terms also used to refer to SEM activities:

Paid search ads
Paid search advertising
PPC (pay-per-click)
PPC (pay-per-call) some ads, particularly those served to mobile search users, may be charged by the number of clicks that resulted in a direct call from a smartphone.
CPC (cost-per-click)
CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions)
SEM For Beginners


Google AdWords is by many measures the most popular paid search platform used by search marketers, followed by Bing Ads, which also serves a significant portion of ads on Yahoo.