SEO or SEM – What's the difference?

March 21st, 2013 Web

It's safe to assume that the majority of Internet use starts with a user entering a term in a search engine. Because of this, companies often measure their 'Internet presence' by where they show up on search results. The cool thing about these search sites is that you can influence results through the use of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

SEM
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a kind of digital marketing that focuses on increasing brand awareness and ultimately website traffic through the search engine. There are two kinds of SEM that most companies use: SEO and Paid Search. Paid Search is the process of paying the search engine - Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc - to show an ad on what are called SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

If you search for common terms using Google, you may see results highlighted in yellow at the top of the page. These are ads that companies have paid Google to promote. You may be familiar with Pay-per-click advertising or Google AdWords, both of these are examples of Paid Search.

Think of SEM as an overall umbrella that represents any marketing activity on search engines.

SEO
SEO therefore is a large part of SEM. But what exactly is it? SEO is the process of optimizing a website through the use of strategic keywords in the content to naturally increase where your website appears in search results.

Think of the way search engines work: You enter a search query which is read as keywords. The engine then searches for sites with those keywords, and through advanced algorithms, determines the most relevant websites based on the words entered. SEO is the process of making your website more relevant to specific keywords, which in turn increases the chance that people will see your site when they search for those keywords.

The key with SEO is that it's an organic process, therefore, it will take time and work to improve search engine rankings. This is where working with SEO experts can help, as they will have good ideas on what you can be doing to boost your rank on search results.

For many websites, the best way to increase traffic is through the use of both Paid Services and SEO. To get optimal results however, you should have a website with content that provides customers with the answers they are looking for. If you feel that your content isn't good enough, or would like help enhancing your SEM efforts, please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.


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