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What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Top Digital Marketing Agency, Absolute Digital

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

What Is GoWhat Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digitalogle Search Engine Marketing (SEM) by Absolute Digital
What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

The best digital marketing agencies in Singapore will know the quickest and most effective way to market your business online is using Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM) otherwise known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing.

This refers to the top 3 or 4 listings on any search results pages and the bottom 3 listings. SEM ads will always have a green icon telling you "Ad" whereas organic listings like Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will not have this icon. SEO usually falls in the middle 10 listings of any keyword search and that is how you differentiate the difference between SEO and SEM listings on Google.

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

How does SEM work?

Google SEM works through keyword advertising. This means that they will show listings from the most relevant websites when a user searches for a keyword. Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) caters to an average of 7 listings (on page 1) for every keyword. Therefore, it is important for you to...

select the keywords that are not only relevant to your business but also has enough search volume on Google

...before you being strategizing your SEM campaign.

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

You can use a free tool called Google Trends to analyze the most popular searched keywords based on your country in the past 12 months to have a rough idea of which keywords you should invest in.

One of the benefits of SEM, unlike SEO, is that...

you do not need a strong website to start your SEM campaign

Whilst Google determines your SEO ranking based on your Domain Authority, Relevancy of your website to the keyword, as well as the credibility of your website, SEM campaigns run using a method called Cost-Per-Click (CPC). This is when you set a monthly/daily budget on your Google AdWords account, and for each time your SEM listing is being clicked by someone, you pay Google a certain fee. Once that budget is used, your listing would not appear on Google until you top up that budget again.

While the concept of this is fairly simple, optimizing your Google AdWords SEM campaign can be tricky. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can begin your SEM campaign on Google.

A Quick Guide To Start Your SEM Campaign On Google

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

1. Keyword Research

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

Keyword Research is one of the most, if not. the most, important factor for your SEM campaign. When using Google Trends to analyze your keyword planning, you should invest in keywords that have enough search volume and are relevant to your brand.

Avoid long-tail keywords as you will reach out to a smaller target audience.

Specific keywords such as "Green Nike Air Jordans From 2012" is considered a long-tail keyword and should be avoided unless you are specifically promoting that particular product.

On the flipside, short-tail keywords can be too generic as well. An example of a short-tail keyword can be "Shoes". Usually one or two words, this could bring about a different set of problems with your ad targetting where your keywords can be too broad and don't reach out to the intended group of target audience.

A good SEM campaign has mid-tail keywords such as "Nike Air Jordans" where you can easily identify your target market, in this case, Air Jordan collectors, and promote all kinds of variations of that product which the user may be interested in.

Finding the right keywords can be tough, even with Google Trends data results. Before you start your SEM campaign, it is best to do your homework or consult with a digital marketing expert.

2. Keyword Bidding

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

Once you have selected your keywords, you now have to fight with your competitors who are also bidding for the same keywords. Each of these keywords has 7 listing spaces on page 1 of Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Google prioritizes the highest bidder on top. So let's say you have set a monthly budget of $300. That leaves about $10 per day. Currently, the top bidder (1st position) is spending $3.50 and the 2nd top (2nd position) is bidding at $2.80 CPC.

If you are constantly outbidding your competition for the 1st position, your ad will disappear after 3 clicks. If the 3 clicks happen in the morning, your ad will disappear until the next day.

Thus, it is wise to strategize your SEM campaign in order to stretch your budget and still get the visibility needed for online lead generation and enquiries.

It is easy to outbid your competition all the time, you just need a blank cheque. However, an experienced digital marketing agency will advise you on how to maximize your budget without burning a hole in your pocket. Examples of how you can maximize your budget are:

  1. Proper keyword planning: Identifying the right keywords based on research data

  2. Ad scheduling: Only show your ads during peak hours to maximize conversions

  3. Smart Bidding: Paying marginally above the competition. e.g. if #1 is bidding at $3.50, you should bid $3.51 and not $5.

  4. Campaign Strategy: Understanding your business to know when is the best time to outbid your competition and when is a good time to save budget

These are just some of the common methodology used by a professional agency. To learn more about how you can optimize your SEM campaign budget, do read on!

3. Landing Page

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

Google's algorithm will crawl through your website to determine the relevancy to the keywords, credibility of your website, as well as the quality of your content.

As more and more companies are advertising on Google, it is increasingly becoming more competitive every day!

Experts find better performing SEM campaigns actually do not link to websites, but landing pages. A landing page is a one-page website focusing on one product/service/promotion. This forces the user to scroll through the entire website, allowing you to control the flow of content. This very effective method is similar to hiring an online salesperson to meet with your client instead of bringing your client to meet everyone in the team.

Most successful brands have a website, and a separate landing page to direct their SEM visitors. This creates an opportunity for you to more accurately track your SEM campaign performance because you would know how many people visited your landing page from the SEM ad campaign with Google Analytics.

4. Set an Objective

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

Now that you've got your keyword planning, bidding strategy, and landing page set up, it's time to set an objective for your SEM campaign. There are several objectives you can work towards: Leads generation, Enquiry email, Enquiry Call, and Event Sign Ups are amongst some of the common objectives for an SEM campaign.

Be sure to include alternative ways for your visitors to contact you.

Some of the popular ways include: Online enquiry form, call now button, email now button, WhatsApp button (on mobile site).

5. Optimizing Your SEM Campaign

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

Now you're all set! Congratulations! Your SEM campaign is ready and you can start to list your brand on Google!

Running an SEM campaign is fast and effective. However, to reach the potential of a good SEM campaign, you have to constantly tweak the settings in order to get the best conversions possible.

You should keep your SEM campaign active unless... are ending it for good. Google takes into consideration how long you have been running your campaign too! So other than a strong SEM campaign strategy and a creative text ad, try to maintain your campaign up and running for as long as possible (or as long as you want more online enquiries)

Pro Tip: You can lower your budget to minimize expenses if you wish to, but avoid pausing or ending your SEM campaign.

6. Strategizing Your SEM Campaign

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

After running your SEM campaign for some time, you will be familiarised with terms such as CPC, CTR, Conversions, and so on... Do take note of these numbers as it shows the performance of your SEM campaign. Should you not see the results you were expecting, the answer lies in these numbers.

Google can automatically generate a report for your SEM campaign. If you are not sure what these numbers mean or how you can use this data to improve your SEM campaign's performance, you can easily search for these terms on Google for a better understanding, or alternatively talk to a digital marketing professional.

7. Smart Campaigns

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

Aside from manually adjusting your SEM campaign which requires a good understanding of how Google AdWords work, Google's Smart Campaigns is an alternative (lazy) way to manage your Search Engine Optimization (SEM) campaign. With Google Smart Campaign, all you need to do it write a short summary of your product/services/brand, select a keyword theme, and ad budget. Google's Artificial Intelligence (AI) system will automatically adjust the other elements of the campaign accordingly and run your campaign.

While convenient, this might not be the most efficient method of running your Google SEM campaign. Still, the brink and mortar method or manually adjusting your SEM campaign has the potential to perform better. Especially if you would like to see better value for your dollar spent.

Thus, finding the right digital marketing agency is crucial when starting out your journey in digital marketing. Once your digital marketing agency understands what works for your brand, you online presence will be stronger and they would be able to advise you on how to increase your brand awareness, get more online leads, convert them into e-commerce sales, or whatever your objectives might be.


These are some methods a digital marketing agency might potentially use to run an SEM campaign. Although there are no right or wrong ways...

certain campaigns may outperform others even if they have a lower budget.

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

Once you understand the metrics behind what a good SEM campaign consists of, you just need to apply the formula and monitor the results. It is also important to note that these data analyses are based on past data and will not predict future data accurately. Factors like consumer behavior, market conditions, and competitor behavior will affect your campaign's performance.

By consistently monitoring your SEM campaign and changing the key elements to optimize results, your SEM campaign has a higher chance to succeed and in return bringing you better value for your dollar.

You can work with any digital marketing agency in Singapore for a good SEM campaign but be sure to verify if that digital marketing agency is certified by Google AdWords before you decide to engage them for your digital marketing. Absolute Digital is the top-performing Digital Marketing agency in Singapore being ranked as Best in Singapore and Top Digital Marketing Agency by GoodFirms.

As one of the fastest-growing digital marketing agencies, we take pride to understand our client's business first, before consulting them on the best strategy they can implement for their digital marketing campaigns. This ensures consistent top-performing campaign results be it on SEO, SEM, Facebook Marketing, Instagram Marketing, or even Web Design.

What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

As a certified Google AdWords Specialist, we are more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding digital marketing! You can drop us an email at or visit our website at for more information.

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What Is Google Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? by Absolute Digital

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