Pay per click advertising (SEM) is just as it states, you pay for each click that your web site receives. Sounds simple and easy and seams reasonable on the surface but lets take a deep look at SEM advertising and who the major SEM providers are and how this can be very costly with little return on investment (ROI). The three biggest providers of SEM are Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing MSN adCenter. ASK Sponsored Listings is now available with their own paid advertising. We have used in the past and have not yet seen any success but is going through a complete makeover and we feel they could become a valuable player in certain markets.

There are several other smaller PPC engines like (formally,,, and All have partner pages that display their paid results and the smaller SEM providers will charge considerably less than the other SEM providers. Remember SEM advertising is bid oriented so you decide how much you are willing to pay for each click. This decision could mean you are willing to be number one or number five or even lower. If you are not willing to spend for one of the top three places you will not get a lot of clicks. But the clicks you do get may be the customer that nets you your next big sale. Sometimes you get a higher quality customer in the number 4 to 6 spot and a higher ROI because they have already shopped your competition and if you have what they want at a similar price they are more likely to buy because you offer the same thing as the 1 – 3 advertisers. Benefit: you paid less to get that customer.

Many changes have been implemented by Google AdWords and MSN adCenter and now Yahoo is completely revamping their Search Engine Marketing in 2007. These include local advertising by picking cities or specific regions, the time of day or specific days of the week your ads may be displayed. Google will even allow you pick which sites your ads can placed and even allows graphical advertising by placing a graphical ad on specific partner web sites.

See Advantages & DisAdvantages of SEM Marketing: