Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) 

Singapore has some of the world’s biggest and most successful companies as it is strategically located close to emerging markets like those of India and China. The country consistently tops the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report since its ecosystem is highly supportive of startups. They provide easy access to financing options for capital, so it is no surprise that Singapore is an innovation hub for fresh and creative ideas. 

Marketing has evolved significantly through time, and now that technology is a norm in business, digital marketing is a must. You may have heard of SEM services in Singapore, but may not be too familiar on what exactly it is. SEM is essentially short for search engine marketing, a strategy used to drive site traffic with paid ads. It can easily be confused with search engine optimization (SEO), a similar strategy which relies on organic ads instead. To learn more about SEM and how it can help your business, read on to gain more clarity on this strategy.

What is SEM?

Back then, the term SEM was broadly used to refer to SEO and paid advertising. Today, however, this term was replaced with the more general “search marketing,” and SEM is more commonly used for paid search activities. On search engine results pages (SERPs), you may sometimes see a featured carousel or some listings above the top organic results. These placements are essentially what you pay for in SEM to gain more traffic and visibility for your site. 

In some cases, SEM may be used interchangeably with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. As its name suggests, PPC is a paid strategy where you are charged for each click. It is one of the most popular forms of online marketing used today since you only pay for content that people see and you can target your intended audience.

SEM Keywords

Keywords are integral in search marketing in general, but with SEM, they are particularly important since you are using paid ads. Your goal is to choose keywords that will help you reach your target users, so doing research beforehand is crucial. Keyword research is perhaps one of the most common SEM services in Singapore since it is key to driving the right traffic. There are various kinds of keywords you can use, including:

1. Broad Match Keywords

Broad match keywords, as the name suggests, allow you to reach the widest audience as they target variations of a term. However, you must be strategic when using these since they are less specific, thus risking the chance that you reach people who are not necessarily part of your intended audience. 

2. Phrase Match Keywords

Phrase match keywords allow you to target phrases and different variations with some words before and after the phrase. You can easily incorporate these into your content to make your strategy sound more natural and smooth.

3. Exact Match Keywords

These refer to words that are exactly or very close to your target keywords, which may include close variants with the same meaning despite misspellings or grammatical errors. Search intent will also be considered, so, for example, whether users search for “running shoes” or “shoes for running,” the same results will be shown.

4. Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are the words that you do not want to target in your SEM campaigns. They can be variations of the broad, phrase, or exact match keywords and are typically those that are unrelated to your ad or campaign. 

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