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Learn SEM: The Best Courses and Resources



One of the significant challenges that businesses face is finding the perfect way to reach target audiences. Sure, companies can put ads in different forms of physical media like magazines, newspapers, and posters, but how the public views advertisements is shifting toward online marketing. 

No matter how successful a business is, an effective digital marketing strategy, namely SEM, is essential for future success. Let’s see why learning SEM and even receiving SEM training can open up a lot of career opportunities, such as becoming a digital marketer.

What Is SEM?

SEM stands for ‘search engine marketing.’ It is essentially a form of digital marketing that helps push your products or services to a broader target audience. 

Here’s an example. You sell a specific type of clothing and need to nail down your target audience. You would use a combination of search engine optimization (SEO) and SEM to appear more frequently in Google searches for users searching for clothes. 

The more regularly your products or services appear at the top of the search engine results page, the more attention you’ll get. By using different SEM marketing campaigns, specific search terms, and pay per click (PPC) advertising, you can pull in a significant amount of web traffic for your site.

You can learn these tactics by attending a top-rated digital marketing bootcamp.

What Jobs Use SEM Skills?

An impressive aspect of SEM marketing campaigns is that any business in any industry can use employees with both SEO and SEM training. Keeping this in mind, the potential for using SEM skills is high. Let’s explore some jobs that lean heavily on SEM campaigns.

  • Digital Marketer. SEO and SEM skills are fantastic fits for digital marketing. If you have extensive SEM skills and experience, becoming a professional digital marketer is probably one of the best career paths to choose from. Through marketing campaigns, you can effectively advertise products or services.

  • Content Creator. A majority of things like organic SEO makes up the brunt of great SEM campaigns. By harnessing SEO and SEM principles, content creators like writers, designers, and more can better tailor content to fit a target audience. 

  • SEM Specialist. It only makes sense that the job that uses SEM skills the most is an SEM specialist. SEM specialists are masters of their craft, using the latest trends and best practices. With a strong background knowledge of search engine results pages, different SEO types, and products and services users search for, SEM specialists are truly unique.

Steps to Learn SEM

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You only need to follow a few crucial steps to learn SEM.



Luckily, it doesn’t take as much to learn SEM as it does for data science or programming. However, it’s much more nuanced than merely plugging in search terms in your SEM ads. Let’s see what steps you should follow to become an SEM expert.

Step 1. Study the Organic Search Results

When searching for particular products and services, you’ll most likely see ads populating the top of the page. Ignore these for now, as these are cost per click or PPC ads (which we’ll explore later on). 

The organic search results are what you see on the first page of Google when you type in a keyword. By studying these first results on the page, you can better understand what garners the most web traffic. 

Read further to see which particular search terms keep popping up in user searches. This gives you a good idea of what you need to aim for when using SEM and SEO to bolster a marketing campaign. 

Step 2. Familiarize Yourself with SEM Tools

In SEM, many useful tools can turn a bland landing page into something that captivates target audiences. There’s more to good SEO and SEM than just plugging in applicable words and search terms. 

Things like Google Adwords, Bing ads, and pay per click advertising can add flair and allure to your content. 

Step 3. Keep the Quality Score in Mind

The quality score is a metric that dramatically influences your pay per click advertising. To achieve a fantastic quality score, you need a few crucial elements. You will need a useful landing page, a high expected click-through rate (CTR), and ad relevance. 

Having a higher quality score means that you have done your due diligence and know your market. You have found a meaningful connection between your products or services and your target audience. 

Step 4. Learn the Differences Between SEO Types

For effective SEM campaigns, you need to know the differences between organic SEO, pay per click, and local SEO and SEM. Organic SEO is when the content on a website is strong enough to pull in web traffic. Organic SEO and SEM doesn’t rely on ads but instead on the quality of the content.

Local SEO is when a local business uses effective SEM. More specifically, in conjunction with a local map to market to a particular region. Local SEO and SEM campaigns focus on nearby neighborhoods, cities, and towns. 

If a pizza place in San Antonio, Texas, wants to appear first, they need to harness relevant trends and keywords. A business like this wants its name to pop up when someone searches ‘San Antonio pizza’ or ‘pizza place near me.’

Pay per click advertising is a widespread form of SEM. Businesses and individuals bid on trigger words and pay to have their products or services listed near the top of a search page. You may be familiar with the first three or so results being ads.

Step 5. Acquaint Yourself With the Target Audience

Knowing who you are marketing to is a pretty big consideration in SEM campaigns. When advertising products or services, you should know things like age demographics, current trends, and more. Once you know your target audience and their habits, forming a cohesive SEM campaign becomes a lot clearer. 

The Best Courses to Learn SEM

Since SEO and SEM are such integral parts of digital marketing, there is no shortage of excellent courses, resources, and training. Below are some of the most notable SEM courses to help you learn SEM’s nuances and intricacies. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialization

As you now know, SEO and SEM go hand in hand. That’s why focusing heavily on SEO best practices and basics is a great place to start when you learn SEM. Taught by the University of California, Davis SEO manager Rebekah May, this SEM course shows learners how to build cohesion with clients, a target audience, and what works on a webpage.

SEO Training Course by Moz

If you aren’t familiar with Moz, it’s a fantastic SEO and SEM resource that helps you learn SEO tips and tricks. Along with these tips, users can learn about SEO strategy audits and create effective organic SEO and demand for sites with virtually zero traffic.

SEMrush SEO Toolkit Course

Since learning the SEO and SEM tools are necessary for effective marketing campaigns, it only makes sense to learn about them from SEMrush. SEMrush is a fantastic online marketing platform that helps businesses and individuals connect with what a target audience is looking for. The SEMrush Academy coursework is perfect for beginners. 

Google Ads Courses

There are a great number of fantastic courses provided by Google. Students learn everything there is to know about Google Adwords. Whether it’s tweaking your marketing campaign or earning a Google Adwords certification, this set of different courses is a great place to start. 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) from an ex-Googler

Learning from experts is a surefire way to reach success. In this case, an ex-Googler named Amitabh Verma leads you through a comprehensive and easy to understand course on Google Adwords. Students partake in a detailed curriculum covering keywords, bids, and quality scores that drive the need for practical SEM training. 

PPC University via WordStream

PPC University is the perfect option for those specializing in pay per click advertising. Suppose you want your products or services to appear on the first page. There are multiple options like PPC 101, PPC 102, and Advanced PPC courses. These courses offer everything for learning the basics of keywords and pay per click ads. 

LinkedIn Learning – Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Not only is LinkedIn a great place to build a vast network of connections, but it also has resources like SEM training. With LinkedIn Learning, you can access several great SEM courses, ranging from essential tips to more advanced concepts. LinkedIn also includes valuable SEO and writing courses to ensure your content attracts potential customers.

Lynda.com – SEM Training and Tutorials

Lynda.com, now part of LinkedIn’s learning programs, is a fantastic way to acquire some crucial beginners’ knowledge. Lynda.com’s courses focus heavily on Google Adwords, Google Tag Manager, and improving an e-commerce site’s web traffic.

Online SEM Classes – Skillshare

Skillshare has an extensive and comprehensive collection of different SEO and SEM classes. Everything is here, from mastering Google searches to tailoring SEO towards more specific subjects. Whether you are attempting to set up YouTube ads, Bing ads, or just starting out with search terms, Skillshare has it in its repertoire. 

WordPress: SEO

Those familiar with or who want to learn WordPress can find out all about how it ties into SEO and SEM. This course by LinkedIn Learning has participants familiarize themselves with Yoast SEO and All in One SEO. You will partake in other WordPress activities as well. Whether you want to configure sitemaps or seamlessly editing and importing SEO from social media, it’s all here. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practices

Taught by SEO and digital marketing expert Kimberly Portuondo, this SEO best practices course sets the stage for future SEO and SEM mastery. There are no prerequisites for this course, and learners of all levels should explore the curriculum. 

Over 11 short lecture videos, Kimberly Portuondo informs curious students about how SEO and SEM experts promote products or services. This class is concise, informative, and extremely beneficial for building an effective online presence.

Why Learn SEM?

Two women discussing sales on a couch with a laptop computer between them
Can your products or services land at the top of the search engine results page?



SEM doesn’t take long to learn, and it can be gratifying if done right. However, just because you can learn the basics quickly doesn’t mean it’s easy to master. If you are technologically-inclined and have a knack for marketing, learning SEM can give you an edge on the job market.

It is easy to see the allure of launching an effective SEM campaign. It’s a mixture of digital marketing, content creation, and in-depth analysis to better market to a target audience. With the right courses, resources, and SEM training, you could quickly master the basics and start your journey to mastering both SEO and SEM.

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