SEM agency: what it is? what it does?


    In this article, I’ll explain what SEM agencies do, which services they offer and how they can help your business achieve its marketing goals.

    sem agencies

    Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is an essential part of digital marketing. It helps businesses increase their online visibility and drive more website traffic. However, not every business has the resources, expertise, or time to create and manage its SEM campaigns effectively. That’s where SEM agencies come in. In this article, we’ll look in-depth at what SEM agencies are, their services, how they work, and their benefits.

    What is SEM Agency?

    Definition of SEM Agency

    An SEM (Search Engine Marketing) agency is a company that specializes in helping businesses improve their visibility and performance in search engine results pages (SERPs) through various tactics. Depending on the agency, these tactics may include pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), copywriting, website optimizations, etc.

    SEM agencies work with businesses to develop and implement effective digital marketing campaigns that target specific keywords and phrases related to their products or services. They use various strategies to increase the visibility of these campaigns on search engines such as Google and Bing, thereby driving more targeted traffic to the business website.

    SEM agencies typically have a team of professionals who are experts in various aspects of search engine marketing, including advertising platforms, analytics, and design. They work closely with businesses to understand their marketing goals and develop customized strategies tailored to meet those goals.

    Why businesses need SEM agencies

    In the quest for business growth, one of the short-term solutions is to invest in online advertising, specifically search engine marketing. Why? Because users actively looking to solve a problem will search on search engines. And let’s be honest: search engines are quite complex. One “simple” campaign can sometimes need the expertise of many SEM professionals simultaneously. Enter your SEM agency for the rescue.

    Services Offered by SEM Agencies

    SEM audit

    An SEM audit is often the first step to get your account back on track when you’re already spending money on search engines. An SEM audit will normally check key aspects of your account, such as conversion tracking, the share of voice, language and location targeting and a deep dive into whether or not your budget is being well spent.

    SEM management

    The core service offered by an SEM agency is SEM management: making sure the budget is well spent and in full, making sure the account is delivering the results agreed by the agency and its client, doing competitive research, suggesting improvements, improving ad copy and running A/B tests always to push forward the account.

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    Because SEO and SEM complete each other, many SEM agencies also offer SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services. Tackling both SEO and SEM in one shot can be a clever way to not only solve your short-term and long-term goals at the same time but also avoid money waste. For example, you can invest in SEM for keywords you’re not ranking organically. Also, the search terms report from your SEM campaigns can feed new ideas into your SEO tactics.

    Keyword Research

    Keyword research is the foundation of your SEM campaigns. Keyword research can point out which keywords to bid on, which to avoid or block, discover the seasonality of your target market, give insights about the competition and much more.

    Ad Copywriting

    An SEM agency can offer ad copywriting services for its overall advertising and marketing strategy. Ad copywriting involves creating compelling and persuasive language that motivates potential customers to click on an ad and take action, such as purchasing, filling out a form, or visiting a website.

    Landing Page Optimization

    SEM agencies offer this service because landing page optimization is a critical component of a successful SEM campaign. SEM agencies focus on driving traffic to a website through search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Once a visitor lands on a website, it’s the landing page’s job to convert that visitor into a customer. If the landing page is poorly designed or doesn’t effectively communicate the value proposition of the product or service being offered, the visitor is likely to leave the site without taking any action.

    Analytics and Reporting

    A Search Engine Marketing (SEM) agency can offer various analytics and reporting services to their clients to help them better understand the performance of their SEM campaigns. Some of the most common analytics and reporting services that an SEM agency can offer include:

    1. Campaign Performance Tracking: SEM agencies can use tools like Google Analytics and other third-party analytics platforms to track the performance of their clients’ SEM campaigns.
    2. Competitor Analysis: An SEM agency can provide detailed reports on the performance of their client’s competitors, including their SEM strategies, ad placements, and keywords.
    3. Customized Reporting: SEM agencies can provide customized reports based on client’s needs and goals. These reports can include metrics that are most relevant to their client’s business, such as lead generation or sales conversion rates.

    How SEM Agencies Work

    Even if an SEM agency has its way of working, all agencies will follow more or less the same flow: Onboard a new client, develop a strategy, implement it, optimize the results and report on the performance. Let’s check each one of the steps below.

    Client Onboarding

    Client onboarding normally covers getting to know the team the enterprise will deal with, how often they’ll communicate, the client’s goals, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and how the performance will be reported.

    Strategy Development

    To remind the words of Michael Porter: “The essence of formulating a competitive strategy is relating a company to its environment.” All this thinking exercise will put a team of experts around the table to draft a strategy according to the company’s needs.


    Implementation is the basis of your campaigns. A Well implemented campaign will almost always pay in the long term. SEM campaign implementation includes ad copy and landing page copy, campaign setup, website tracking, design and much more. Once all this is implemented, it’s time for the optimization.


    SEM campaign optimization is the key to the success of an SEM campaign and the main reason a campaign may fail or succeed. By optimization, you can think of running ad copy tests, proactively adding negative keywords, managing bids, spotting growth opportunities and much more.

    Reporting and Analysis

    Depending on the company’s goals and media budget, the agency will propose a regular performance report call. During these calls, both parties (client and agency) will discuss the campaign progress and share the relevant updates from each side, always to move forward in terms of performance. Some recurring themes during these calls are campaign performance, budget spending, competitive landscape and optimization opportunities.

    Now, if the value does not persuade you of an SEM agency, I list here below some of the benefits of working with one.

    Benefits of Working with SEM Agencies


    SEM agencies can be cost-effective, especially if they can deliver the results the client asked for. To judge the cost-effectiveness of an agency, clients should consider the use of the budget, the results delivered and if it’s the best option among all the alternatives (such as other agencies or internalizing the services).

    Access to Expertise

    Access to expertise is often one of the main reasons why companies partner with agencies. SEM expertise takes years to acquire and improve, and finding good talent is pretty difficult.


    Not only is finding talent difficult, but finding a variety of talented people with different points of view and experiences under the same roof is something agencies are proud of and not the majority of companies can afford. A company can find a talented SEM manager. Still, when the time comes to scale the business, an agency can offer the company not only many other SEM professionals but also related services, such as e-mail marketing, design, CRO and more.


    An SEM agency can save time for brands by handling all aspects of search engine marketing, providing access to advanced tools and technologies, and keeping them up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the field. This allows brands to focus on their core competencies and improve the efficiency of their marketing efforts.


    SEM agencies are hired by businesses to improve their online presence through digital marketing strategies like pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, and social media advertising. Success is measured by increased website traffic, leads, and revenue. To retain clients, SEM agencies must deliver results because clients have specific goals like increased sales. They have a team of experienced digital marketing professionals who develop and implement customized strategies, closely monitor results and make adjustments as needed.

    Now that you know a little bit more about the way SEM agencies work, let’s contrast it with an in-house team.

    DIY SEM vs. hiring an agency

    Pros of doing SEM in-house:

    1. Control: Businesses have complete control over their SEM campaigns and can make changes quickly and easily.
    2. Cost: Doing SEM in-house may be less expensive than hiring an agency, particularly for smaller businesses with limited budgets.
    3. Business knowledge: In-house teams deeply understand the business, its products and services, and its target audience.

    Cons of doing SEM in-house:

    1. Limited expertise: In-house teams may not have the same level of expertise and experience as SEM agencies, particularly in areas such as analytics and campaign optimization.
    2. Resource limitations: In-house teams may not have the resources to dedicate to SEM, particularly for smaller businesses with limited staff.
    3. Time constraints: In-house teams may not have the time to dedicate to SEM, particularly if they are also responsible for other marketing or operational tasks.

    Now that you know what factors to consider when choosing an SEM agency, it’s important to ask the right questions to ensure you’re making an informed decision. Here are some key questions to ask potential SEM agencies to help you determine whether they’re the right fit for your business.

    How to Choose the Right SEM Agency for Your Business

    Questions to Ask

    1. Can you provide examples of successful SEM campaigns you managed, including the specific results achieved?
    2. How do you create ad copy and landing pages that are optimized for conversions?
    3. What kind of ongoing support and communication can clients expect from you throughout a campaign?
    4. What kind of guarantees or promises do you offer regarding campaign performance and ROI?
    5. How do you define success in an SEM campaign, and what metrics do you use to measure it?


    SEM agencies can help businesses to achieve their marketing goals by creating and managing effective SEM campaigns. By understanding what SEM agencies are, their services, how they work, and their benefits, businesses can make informed decisions and choose the right agency to achieve their marketing objectives.


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