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Paid search is often referred to as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and describes the process of gaining exposure with search engines by bidding for particular keywords.

Basically, advertisers purchase ads by bidding for keywords. Among search engine specialists and marketers this discipline is called “Paid Search”. Other terms used, but describing the same thing, include: Paid search ads, paid search advertising, or PPC (pay-per-click).

Most advertisers use Google to place ads (Google AdWords) since Google is the most popular search engines and it makes therefore most sense spending your money there. However, Bing and other search engines offer similar services as well.

In addition, ads now can also be bought on Facebook or Twitter. Given the growing influence of Social Media, buying ads with Social Media platforms may be a good idea. In general, when launching a PPC campaign a cost-to-benefit analysis should be conducted before any money is spent.