Search Engine Marketing for Beginners: Types of SEM

Search Engine Marketing for Beginners: Types of SEM | Xena

Search engine marketing is one of those techy phrases that sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. If you haven’t read part 1 of this SEM series, “Search Engine Marketing for Beginners: SEO vs SEM”, you can go ahead and find it here. In this post, we’re exploring the different types of SEM.

Types of Search Engine Marketing

Local SEO

Local SEO is when you use Google’s local listing features (like Google My Business) and Google Shopping to make your business findable online in your area, town, or city. This is particularly important for service-based businesses where you need customers to physically come to you. These customers will often search for products & services on Google, along with the area or suburb name, giving you an opportunity to show up online!

Not to mention, local SEO listings are also free. You can increase your chances of showing up on search results by using the listing features that allow customers to rate and review your business, and connect with you via social media.

Organic SEO


Organic SEO is different in the sense that you are not paying for results in the short-term, i.e. paying for Google Ads. This is about using keyword strategies and content creation with SEO to have your business show up on the organic search (below the paid listings at the top of the search results page). When it comes to organic SEO, your keyword research should be included in all your content creation and marketing strategy. This includes your website copy, image descriptions, back-end descriptions on your website, product tags, and so forth.


Getting backlinks (i.e. getting other companies to write about your products & services and include links to your business) is a great part of boosting your organic SEO strategy. You’ll score more points with Google as they’ll begin to recognise your domain as credible and improve your ranking over time. This strategy does not necessarily include local intent, although local-based keywords can be part of your organic SEO strategy. It can take about 4-6 months to see results based on your efforts and competition in your niche. That said, it’s a strategy worth applying!

PPC (Pay Per Click)

When it comes to SEM, this is the pay-to-get-results-faster option. You’ll spend money on Google Ads to have your business show up at the top of the search results page with other paid listings, paying only every time a customer clicks on your listing.

How organic SEO informs PPC and Google Ads campaigns

Finally, one thing you need to consider is that there’s a balance between keywords that work for you, and the amount you’re willing to spend per click in comparison to your competitors. This is why a combination of one or two more expensive and high-ranking keywords with lower competition, long-tail (which means long phrase) keywords is a great approach.

Hungry for more Search Engine Marketing content? Have a look at part 3 of our SEM Beginners Guide, “Search Engine Marketing for Beginners (Part 3): How to build an effective SEM Strategy”. 

Are you a female business owner looking to expand your network? Join XENA and start building your female empire today. The community is 100% free to all female South African founders. Apply by clicking on the JOIN XENA button in the upper right navigation.

Author: Heideli Loubser
Edited by: Xena

More To Explore...

Rise and unlock the collective potential of the female economy.

Join a community of South African Female Founders, Female-Led Businesses, Mentors and Leaders on a mission to grow together. Plug into a network of Fempreneurs (like-minded women) who are here to listen, support, help and mentor.

Not a business owner yet? Subscribe to our #Dreampreneur Newsletter.