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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Many individuals new to web marketing have some questions about search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Are they one in the same? How are they different? SEO and SEM have many similarities but are not the same.

Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing are similar in many ways. Each online marketing discipline requires a strong understanding of purpose and functionality. The practice of SEO requires a basic knowledge of search engines and how they work at their core. Search engine marketing requires an understanding of online marketing and advertising.

Both online marketing methods can be rather complex yet at the same time relatively simple. SEO can be boiled down to this. Where your site is ranked on major search engines is a direct result of your understanding and application of best practices in the area of SEO.

Search engine marketing is based on an understanding of online ad campaigns that are implemented on advertising networks. The largest online ad network is Google followed by Yahoo! and MSN. These ad networks basically work the same way. You open an ad account, place an online ad, and when users search for terms related to your ad, the advertisement displays. When someone clicks on your ad, you pay a fee.

SEO is different than SEM because it is based on natural or organic search results versus paid results. Search engine optimization techniques can be better defined as on page optimization and off page optimization. On page optimization directs you on how to design your web page in an effort to improve ranking and search ability. Said another way, on page optimization is closely tied to web site design and off page is more associated with factors outside your website itself.

The purpose of SEO is to generate natural traffic to your website. After a browser completes a search on Google or other major search engine, the resulting list is based on each search engines algorithm. When users click on these results you do not pay. Organic search is usually referred to as natural or free traffic.

Search engine marketing differs in that you pay when users take an action. Unlike traditional advertising you do not pay for your ad to display. You do however pay when a browser clicks on your ad. The amount you pay varies on the competitiveness of your keywords and the position in which you want your ad to display.

Online marketing is based on a good understanding of SEO and SEM best practices. These internet marketing subject areas are common among today's marketing professionals but rarely do you find the level of expertise needed for success. Learn more about these subject ares with some research and be sure to subscribe to an SEO newsletter or blog. As you gain more knowledge implement new techniques and improve your rankings.


Anonymous said...

Very nice read. Thank you for the information.

Anonymous said...

very good explaining, I completely agree with you.
Nice blog, well done!

Anonymous said...

there are very close definitions
I get really confused
do you mean that SEO is on/off page job,,, and SEM is about paid traffic like AdWords and facebook ads????

did I get that right???


Anonymous said...

Hey, nice blog post! You're spot on!

The web needs more of this great quality content.

- James Francis.

E.Z-Androider said...

I wanted to thank you for posting this entry. It is extremely useful and well put. The video is also a great addition. So thank you again for sharing this with us.

- Sean C.

Anonymous said...

Very good post. A lot of business owners do not believe in SEM but they don't realize is the only way to be in the first 2 pages of google without having to invest $30,000+ a year on their websites. Please visit my new blog


Damian Amaya
PRstore Melville

purwanto said...

For me this means simple as this:
SEM = cost. SEO = time + energy

DriveThirst said...

Solid post...using email in drip campaigns can really help as well..

Direct Marketing said...

Thanks for this great detailed explanation of SEO&SEM.
SEO is a great way to be found on the net or get noticed. However, if you want to be successful, you need to do some kind of research. You don't want to be surprise in the bad way.

Signature Marketing said...

As clients become more web optimistic 'website marketing' has become an umbrella term for SEO, SEM, SMO, Pay-Per-Click, Viral...

So it's nice to read a blog that avoids clients getting 'burnt' by SEO companies.

Internet Marketing Expert said...

Great article. I am often confronted with questions about the differences between SEO and SEM, it is frustrating at times when someone perceives you as an expert at one, yet because its not where you spent most your time you are questioned on expertise of the other. There is so much overlap, yet there are significant differences. I am still at a loss about how to approach such questions. Thanks for the insights.

Air Conditioning Queens said...

Thank you for pointing out the difference. Now I know that SEO is more of a long-term process whereas SEM can be short-term and long-term.

emarketed said...

Thanks for the clarification. Very well put!

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