Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the process of gaining website traffic through the use of paid ads on search engines. One of the ways to do this is to use Google Adwords. Google Adwords is the most popular paid search platform used by search marketers. You can have Google showcase your website on the first page of the search results even if your website is not on the first page of the search results. The process of increasing your pagerank on search results if called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and is separate from SEM. This is important because SEO can take months to show results, but SEM can show results in just one month. Google Adwords also a tremendous amount of tools to track who is clicking your ads. Using that information you can optimize your marketing campaigns and reach the people that you want to reach.
How does it help a business?
SEM paid ads are optimized depending what the user is searching for, therefore the traffic that you could get from having your ad shown and clicked is extremely targeted and relevant. Depending on what the goal is for your site, whether buying a product or signing up for a newsletter, by targeting your audience the conversion rate for that goal is usually achieved. SEM ads can also be used to add additional information could be relevant to the user, such as additional links to specific parts of your website and locating where your business is depending on their location.
Why do you like this discipline?
I like SEM because of the analytical thinking processes involved into improving the marketing campaign. You would have to go over all the data that Google generated and figure out which is working, which isn’t working and why. Are you targeting the wrong audience, is your ad showing up in the wrong search results, is the landing page for your ad a bad page? You would have to figure all this out, while at the same time trying to optimize the things that are working to reach the ultimate goal of the business.
Google API for Adwords Quality Score Breakdown