Differences Between Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization

seo-vs-semYou may sometimes hear SEO and SEM used interchangeably, so you might think that search engine optimization and search engine marketing are the same thing. That is not the case. SEO and SEO are actually two different things.

The Connection Between the Two

Here’s how it works. Search engine marketing, or SEM, consists of everything you do to help your website reach the top of search results in places like Google or Bing. Some think of search engine optimization, aka SEO, as part of search engine marketing efforts. It technically is, but they are not the same exact thing. SEO is part of SEM, but SEM encompasses many other things, as you will see.

SEO, as you may already know, is the use of keywords and website design to help boost a site to the top rankings in search engines such as Google. Things like putting a full name or keyword in a title, using keywords, and writing interesting content are ways to boost SEO. Optimization means to improve things so that they are functioning at their best.

There are onsite components to SEO – using keywords enough, but not too much, as well as your meta tags and the way the site is designed. The offsite components to SEO include what sites link to you, and whether they are considered quality sites.

So by using search engine optimization, you are doing everything you can on your website to make sure that your site ranks at the top of search engine results for its category.

What SEM Encompasses

SEM, on the other hand, includes SEO. After all, search engine optimization is a part of search engine marketing. But it also includes other items like pay per click (PPC), where you pay to have ads run on Google or Bing when people search for particular topics. It also includes ads that show up on individual websites via Google, or banner ads.

Other things that would be included as SEM is paying for inclusion on sites, as well as trusted feed programs.  Link building is another component of SEO, as is developing a site’s reputation.

What’s the Difference?

Broadly speaking, some people think of SEM as being different from SEO because generally speaking, much of SEM involves paying for ads, while SEO can be done for free if you know how. But both free and paid efforts have their place. When you pay for ads, you can get traction for your website right away, while SEO can take longer to get going, but your traffic will likely be more organically interested in what you offer.

In addition, building landing pages that people will go to after SEO or SEM efforts is also an important part of your efforts. Conversion optimization is also important. In summary, there are many components of search engine marketing, and search engine optimization is one of them.

This post was brought to you by Lisa Swan, who writes on search engine optimization and search engine marketing for Blue Fly Web Marketing


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One Response to Differences Between Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization

  1. Pingback: Differences Between Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization | Social Media Kompass

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