It is difficult to maintain a web presence these days without being at least marginally aware of search engine marketing. Search engine marketing can bring your site great deal of traffic, but like any other type of advertisement, it needs to be managed carefully. Essentially search engine marketing (abbreviated SEM) is an umbrella term for web site promotion through a search engine, whether that is through search engine optimization, pay per click advertisements or through paid inclusion. The theory behind SEM is a good one; when people use search engines, they are in a state of mind where they are looking for information. When a web surfer gets to your site via a search engine, he does not feel put upon or annoyed, which he might if he had received a piece of spam e-mail from you. By giving the searcher exactly what they want when they search, SEM can get you customers who are already sold on the type of services your provide, but just need to find you. The best and most direct way to ensure that your website is near the top when a search string related to your site is entered into Google Yahoo or MSN, is through search engine optimization and through link building. The search engine rates your site on how closely it seems to match what the search string says, and also by how many other sites have linked to you. There are many ways to make sure your site is attractive to search engines, ranging from article writing to placing your link on directories that list similar services. Pay per click advertising is also a main part of SEM; you can set up an arrangement where a small link to your site appears when a certain search string is used in the search engines. The best example of this sort of advertising and how it relates to SEM can be seen with Google Ads. You choose which words you’d like to bring up your ad and then, whenever anyone clicks on your link, you will pay Google a certain amount. You can set a budget to and limit how much you pay every day, and you can also experiment with the words you use to see which combinations bring the most relevant traffic to your site. There is fairly constant debate that goes on over whether natural search results (search results that show up on their own) or paid search results are better. A blended strategy is normally best which utilizes both search engine optimization and pay per click as it encompasses both parts of the marketing mix. Search engine marketing is one way to make sure that you get the traffic and thus the customers that you need to your site. A little bit of knowledge about SEM goes a long way, so make sure that you take advantage of this highly useful resource.