SEM Acronyms: What Do They Mean?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a catchall phrase that encompasses both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click marketing (PPC) campaigns.

As the above shows, it’s also a world full of acronyms. Who wants to say “search engine optimization” every time they talk about SEO?

Of course, for those just introducing themselves to the world of SEM analytics, all the acronyms can get confusing. That’s completely understandable. For those in digital marketing, part of the job is to educate people on what all the various terms mean.

With that in mind, the following are definitions for acronyms you will come across when reading about SEM analytics or talking to people who work in the digital marketing field.

Website Creation and Database Management

Let’s start with terms often heard in the world of SEM analytics that relate to building a website and maintaining your database.

CMS: Content Management System

It is the system that allows you to edit and publish content on your site. A good CMS allows users without programmer skills to edit and change content, including text and images. Importantly, it also allows for adding keywords and metadata to site content, which improves the chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages.

This post outlines what factors to consider when choosing the best content management system and this one has our picks for top CMS platforms.

CRM: Customer Relation Management

A CRM system allows you to efficiently maintain data on interactions with current and potential customers. Typically used by sales and marketing staff, the CRM provides a central system for storing data such as customer contact information, service records, marketing campaign information, lists of potential new customers, and customer transactions.

Digital Marketing Terms

These next terms involving the digital marketing methods used for a website.

SEM: Search Engine Marketing

This term combines the two major marketing areas used in digital marketing, SEO and PPC. In other words, paid search activities and optimized content published to a site. Both are done to increase traffic to a website in the hopes of achieving goals such as higher conversion rates, more overall sales, and growing email contact lists.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

This is the process of trying to get your site ranked high in online searches by using content, meta tagging, and using keywords and phrases that people search for around certain topics. It also can include creating a robust social media presence that engages customers and promotes content on your website.

PPC: Pay Per Click

This is advertising purchased online that buyers pay for every time someone clicks on it. Most people are familiar with this in the form of ads that come up on search engines such as Google or Bing. The key is to write PPC ads that target the right keywords and attract people who are likely to purchase your product or service.

Measuring Success

To find out if any of the above areas are working, it requires the use of analytics. That’s where GA comes in.

GA: Google Analytics

Google analytics allows users to collect and analyze a vast amount of data on their website, including the number of visitors, where they came from, how long they stayed on the site, what pages they looked at and whether they made a purchase. It also can help you determine the success of marketing campaigns. The tool is free.

Keep this list handy next time you read about SEM analytics. Once you understand what they refer to, it makes the world of digital marketing that much easier to understand.

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