We know, search engine marketing (SEM) probably isn’t your idea of a good time, but it’s a necessary evil for getting yourself recognized on the World Wide Web.

What is search engine marketing? Wikipedia describes it as “a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through optimization and advertising.” SEM will often make use of search engine optimization (SEO), a process aimed to garner higher ranking in SERPs. (As you can tell, SEM loves acronyms!)

Here are 5 reasons why your business needs search engine marketing:

1. It doesn’t matter how strong your product is, without a good marketing strategy, you’re not going to succeed. And if you don’t have a web presence, chances are you’re missing a LOT of potential customers and clients. It doesn’t even matter if you have a fabulous, easy-to-use website…are you being ranked in search engines? Try a pay per click strategy, affiliate marketing, or content management.

2. When you incorporate good content into your website, you’re making it easier for your customers to find whatever information they need . Imagine the frustration of trying to purchase a product online, and not being able to find out anything out ABOUT the product! Great content will also keep people coming back for more.

3. Google is an Internet giant – the most popular kid in school. And if the popular kid is not recognizing you…kiss your traffic goodbye. Think about how often you use Google to search for, well, anything. Is your business on Google’s radar? Type in your company name (or a few related search strings – i.e., “burrito places in St. John’s”) and see what pops up.

4. Speaking of search strings, keyword research is a VITAL part of SEM, and will allow you to get up close and personal with your customer/client base. You MUST know what your customer is searching for, and you MUST work those keywords into your website SEM plan. This will also keep you in touch with your customers’ wants and needs.

5. You’ll be creating brand awareness, even if it’s a gradual climb. You want your brand to be easily recognizable by everyone. When that happens, you can feel rest assured that you’ve made an impression!

There are a million different layers to Search Engine Marketing, but the key thing is to understand its importance. Have you started your SEM plan yet?

To learn more about starting your first Search Engine Marketing  campaign,  download our free ebook  A Beginners Guide to Adwords.

Download our Beginner's Guide to AdWords eBook