Search Engine Marketing” was once was used as an umbrella term to encompass both SEO (search engine optimization) and paid search activities. Over time, the industry has adopted the SEM acronym to refer solely to paid search.
At Search Engine Land, we generally use SEM and/or “Paid Search” to refer to paid listings, with the longer term of search marketing used to encompass both SEO and SEM. Below are some of the most common terms also used to refer to SEM activities:
Paid search ads
Paid search advertising
PPC (pay-per-click) *
PPC (pay-per-call) – some ads, particularly those served to mobile search users, may be charged by the number of clicks that resulted in a direct call from a smartphone.
CPC (cost-per-click) *
CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) *
Most search ads are sold on a CPC / PPC basis, but some advertising options may also be sold on a CPM basis.