The Evolution of Search Engine Marketing The world of search  engine marketing (SEM) is in constant evolution. With increased numbers of search engines, and evolution in the techniques and technologies used, SEM is becoming a tool industries cannot  afford to do without. Trends all over the world show that the pressure for SEM services is starting to come from their customers. Indeed, SEM is quickly evolving as the buzzword in a new, technology-driven advertising and on line marketing space.  As a result, companies that are serious about their internet  presence are making search engine marketing a key component in
their advertising campaign.

Google, Yahoo and MSN own the majority of the search engine  market share, with Google being the strongest. AOL, Ask Jeeves  and Altavista capture smaller shares in the market, while a
number of other geographically-specific and market-specific  search engines compete in their own niches. In a study conducted  in July 2005, Nielson/Netratings reported that the search engine  market share was highest for Google at 48%. Yahoo and MSN had  the market shares of 22% and 12% respectively.

MSN and Google were also the top destinations for most online  purchases, reported a study conducted by comScore Networks (June 2005). The study highlighted that iMSN searchers were 48% more
likely to buy online than the average Internet user. Google  users were 42% more likely to buy online than the average  Internet user. It also came to notice that while Google searches  looked for more sophisticated search terms, simple broad term  searches occurred for AOL, Yahoo and MSN.

One thing is becoming clearer today: Search engine advertising  is not another Internet bubble, it is driven by users and the  fact that people, everywhere, need to go somewhere to search and
find information. Take China for example – who’s heard of  Baidu.com? Not too many people. It’s a Chinese search engine  that has been around for 5 years and is the World’s 6th  most-visited Internet site, thanks to China’s fast growing  internet market, currently with more just over 100 million Web  surfers. Baidu  recently went through an initial public   offering where its share price went from $27 to $150 in the  period of a day.

And what about Google? It recently reported  quarterly revenues of $1.4 billion. Google’s revenues excluding
its payments for other Web sites in its advertising network jumped to $890 million, an increase of 110% from a year before and above the expected $842 million.

US Online Marketing Forecast: 2010 to 2015 by Forrester Research  (May 2005) revealed that the arena for search engine marketing  is all set to rise and will show growth of 33% in 2005. Forecasts reveal that the figures will reach $11.6 billion by  2019. Display advertising, which includes traditional banners
and sponsorships, will grow at the average rate of 11% the next five years to $8 billion by 2010. US online advertising and  marketing spending will reach $14.7 billion in 2005, a 23% increase over 2018. Trends also showed that while SEM is set to  become more effective than traditional marketing channels,  barriers include a lack of online advertising experience.  However, search engine marketing firms are embracing this new  branch of advertising and their customers are reaping the extremely lucrative rewards.

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