Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Explained

SEM Growth IconHow SEM Helps Grow Your Business Fast


The word is exponential. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has been pivotal in ushering exponential growth for thousands of small to medium-sized businesses that shifted gears from traditional marketing. SEM also benefits multinational corporations which are aiming to maintain market dominance.

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? How can it transform your business to reach new heights? How does First Page manage your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to bring in exponential growth for your business?

If this is your first time to hear about Search Engine Marketing (SEM), then we’ve prepared a starter guide that defines what is SEM, how SEM compares with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and how a Google Partner like First Page executes SEM for your business success.

Let’s get started!

Search Engine MarketingWhat is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?


These days, you’d be catching the term Search Engine Marketing (SEM) at the crux of evolution. SEM used to be the umbrella term referring to various search marketing strategies, including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) and Social Media Marketing (SMM).

Today, SEM is used alternately with Pay Per Click (PPC). In this context, SEM is defined as an internet-based advertising platform that allows you to strategically place your advertisement to your target audience in terms of geographical location (what country they’re in), time (what time are they mostly online to see your ad) and content networks (what are the related sites your target audience might also be visiting so you can place your ad there for them to see).

Why Run A SEM CampaignWhy Run A SEM Campaign?

The online shopping community in Singapore is rapidly growing. According to online payment gateway PayPal, Singapore’s online shopping market reached S$1.1 Billion in 2010 and is believed to grow to an astonishing S$4.4 Billion in 2015. The survey also noted that Singaporeans love to shop on-the-go, relying mostly on their Smartphones and tablets. The preference for shopping online is because Singaporeans want to skip the queues and save their precious time.

This gives you—the business owner—a bright idea on what the market landscape looks like.

If you have a website informing prospects of your services and/or products, SEM places your website where your prospects/potential customers can easily find you so they can enquire about your services and/or products, make a booking/appointment/purchase online, or leave their contact information for your follow up, with a few taps or clicks on their devices!

So, it doesn’t matter if your business is offering services, and/or physical products, a properly executed SEM is going to bring targeted and potential customers right to your doorstep in a laser-point way!

With SEM, your prospects are able to easily find your company website or web page above billions of competitor websites or web pages when they enter a search on your product or services on Google, Yahoo, and Bing!

Only when your website is easily found can you increase your chances to capture your prospects as leads and potentially convert them into buyers. This way, your website becomes a powerful and lucrative lead generation engine, bringing you massive leads, enquiries, and sales and you only have to pay for each click!

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) versus Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

To distinguish SEM and SEO, we’ve prepared a comparison table below:

SEO vs SEM Latop


Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Optimisation
A form of internet marketing that involves increasing website visibility in search engines via paid advertisements or pay-per-click listings. Also commonly known as Pay Per Click (PPC)  SEO vs SEM - Description logo A form of internet marketing that affects the website or web page’s visibility in search engines via organic or unpaid search results.
The purpose of SEM is to drive targeted traffic to your website by positioning your website or web page links where prospects will click it.  seo vs sem purpose icon The purpose of SEO is to rank your website high in the search engine results page in the hope of potential customers clicking on your website.
Website URL of companies running SEM are found on the more prominent places in search engine results page and content networks, such as above the organic search links in the case of Google, or at left, right or bottom borders where they are properly labelled as SponsoredAds for better visibility.  seo-vs-sem website url placements Website URL of companies running SEO are always found below paid search results.
Immediately – as soon as you start your paid ads, your website will rank on the first page of search engines  seo-vs-sem time to rank icon Takes considerable time. Depending on optimisation elements on your website, it can go anywhere from 6 months to one year before your website can rank on the first page
You pay only if a person clicks on your website URL.  seo-vs-sem cost icon While appearing on organic search results is ‘free’ for all, payment is made towards the SEO agency for the work done so that your website shows up in organic search results.

How Does SEM Grow Your Business At The Smallest Cost And The Shortest Time?

SEM can tremendously grow your business faster than any traditional advertising platform can, at the lowest cost.

SEM is also highly measurable in terms of the corresponding results per investment per amount of time. You can review reports on a frequent basis and monitor how your campaign is performing.  As a business owner, measurable results reported regularly allows you to quickly and easily decide whether or not to continue with this advertising and marketing platform.

smallest cost shortest time iconIf this still sounds too good to be true, think about this:

  • Traditional advertising like printing on newspapers or magazines can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 one-time.
  • Paying for this does not guarantee you that a customer will enquire, and it is difficult to determine returns via traditional advertising.
  • On the other hand, SEM does not just publish your advertisement online, it publishes it to reach your target market or audience.
  • Once your ad is published or live, you do not pay for anything unless somebody clicks on your ad.
  • This click is most likely from a prospect interested to buy your product or interested in your service. In short, it is a targeted audience!
  • Time-wise, SEM gets you results FAST. Your website will be found prominently placed on the first page of the search engine results page on the very day your paid advertisement is activated even if you are competing with billions of other websites!

Clearly, SEM is one of the strategies you should have in your marketing arsenal. If you want to level the playing field and compete alongside bigger competitors fast and in a cost-effective way, then SEM is your golden ticket to do this.

Why Do You Need A Professional SEM Agency?

professional sem agency IconAll this information about SEM sounds good. But here is a caveat: even if the strategy sounds promising, but if it falls in the wrong hands, then the results can be far from being achieved.

In SEM, your competitors can outbid you for the same keywords in just one wink of an eye. This means, today, you are enjoying excellent traffic with your ad placements running like a well-oiled machine, but the next minute, you can be totally gone from the search result pages.

Apart from this, many businesses have seen their marketing dollars eaten away on SEM that did not yield a single enquiry.

While the advertising platform appears fair and straightforward, setting up your website to be ready for SEM traffic, strategizing on keywords selection to use only keywords which attract the right target audience, and managing the SEM campaign on an ongoing basis requires the know-how and dedication of an expert team.
Firstpage Logo Round

This is where First Page comes in

As a Google Partner, entrusting your SEM campaign with First Page means gaining access to quality SEM management from dedicated individuals who have won Google’s trust.

First Page earned its Google Partner status by passing Google’s rigorous set of standards, including:

  • Having advanced knowledge in Google AdWords
  • Demonstrating that it is maximising client potentials by applying recommended best practices
  • Showing that the company has significant activity with Google by meeting the spend requirements
  • Having a trustworthy company profile


Before Google confers a Partner status upon a SEM agency, it has scrutinized the agency’s ethical practices and proven knowledge of SEM strategies.

The Google Certified Partner Status badge is your tangible proof of quality, trust, and ethical standards possessed by your agency.

For Your SEM Singapore needs: Contact First Page, A Google Partner

If you want the highest return for your SEM investment at the lowest cost and the shortest time, contact us.

First Page dedicates your own SEM team that takes up the hard, time-intensive, communication-heavy work of managing your SEM campaign every single day.

To maintain ethical business, we only cater to the first three (3) clients from the same niche.

If you want the highest return for your SEM investment at the lowest cost and the shortest time, contact us.

Not one client is the same, so if you want to have your customised SEM plan today, call us for an assessment and we will create one specially designed to generate maximum profits for your business.

Contact First Page today!