It’s a common question – what exactly is the difference between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? Both involve the use of search engines, and both make up a part of a company’s overall internet marketing strategy. The main difference is that SEO is simply a part of SEM. So, while SEO is about obtaining the best possible search engine placement using organic (non paid) methods, SEM is about using all available tactics to get exposure via the search engines. Paid and unpaid.
More About Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – With SEO, a website owner aims to optimize their site so that engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing amongst others place them highly in their free search results section. While in recent times traffic has proliferated onto many other platforms such as social media, search engines still offer a great deal of keyword targeted traffic. Most websites tend to focus their energy on getting a good Google ranking, however it is always worth ensuring that a site is also indexed and visible within other search engines too.
There are two major SEO tactics that a site owner needs to get right. The first is called on site optimization, where the webmaster aims to tweak various aspects of the website itself to make it search engine friendly. These can include the right keyword selection, titles, tags, descriptions and more. Google periodically changes what it wants from a site’s on site optimization efforts, so its important to keep up to date with SEO developments on sites such as SEO Roundtable.
The second type of SEO is called off site optimization – this essentially involves the site owner getting their backlinks into other sites. When Google sees that other high pedigree sites hold a websites backlink, it gives the backlinked site more credence. The evolution of SEO has meant that rather than just wanting a big volume of backlinks, Google now prefers quality backlinks that are periodically clicked upon. There are also many additional factors that need to be included with a well balanced off site SEO campaign.
SEO requires a continual time and/or financial investment to reap dividends. Once a site attains top spot in Google, the next challenge is to keep it there.
Exactly How Search Engine Marketing Is Different From SEO. While SEO is part of SEM, Search Engine Marketing involves several additional methods of using search engines for traffic. Most notably, they include the use of paid search advertising – Google Adwords is by far the most popular vehicle for this. Adwords is one of the more popular non SEO components of SEM – it’s also known as Pay Per Click (PPC), since a websites ad is displayed alongside the organic search content, and a fee is paid each time the ad is clicked. The fee is dependent on how popular the keyword being used is. It is not uncommon to pay several dollars per adword click for some high profile niches. There are several other pay per click search engines too, from specialist ones like Plenty Of Fish (for dating sites) and Bing to name but a couple. One of the main advantages in using pay per click over organic search is that it is instant – with SEO, it can take a long time to progress up the rankings to even the first few pages of Google. With PPC, the site ad can adorn the top page of Google within the time it takes to create the ad and fund the account.