SEM, Search Engine Marketing - is the practice of buying, or renting, keywords. Like a game of Frogger or a fluid stock options market, the art of good SEM involves skill, hard work & sometimes a touch of luck or magic.
Begin with Keyword Research. We use tools like Google.com/trends to find high volume, and recently trending terms & phrases that might be one, two, three and sometimes four words. These keywords are bought for the purpose of driving traffic to one particular page, to learn about one particular topic, or attend one particular event. Ideally, those keywords, important to your issue, your topic, your event, are located front and center of the page.
Think of Josephine New User. Josephine just searched for a black cat. She clicked on the ad we wrote because it promised her a black cat. The page she lands on will, ideally, be filled with black cats. We want to keep our promise to Josephine.
Next, we Write Great Ads. Well, some of them aren't so great, so we write more, and throw away the losers like shells on a desert island that will never do us any good again once they've been used and tossed aside. But some of the ads are really good, and they get us good click rates, and lots of people are intrigued and engaged and click through and learn about your organization and then they tell their friends and come back again and maybe subscribe to your newsletter or bookmark your action center or become a supporter.
Yes, there's more to it than that, like organizing themes into ad groups, and testing landing page language, and tracking conversions and the subtle differences between Google & Bing & Yahoo, but we'll get into that later.