Just when you think you have the hang of this SEO thing, a new term comprised of letters gets thrown at you. SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is a tactic that involves getting seen more and acquiring more traffic, mostly through paid ads. This does utilize SEO, but they are not the same thing. Here are the differences between the two.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO requires knowledge about your target audience and what they are searching for, and also an understanding of how search engines operate. It involves using targeted keywords to boost search engine rankings. The higher your website ranks, the more people will find you. It takes an in-depth knowledge of keywords and also some work on your part to really get your website ranked high.
Search Engine Marketing
SEM is quite like SEO in that it is about gaining more traffic through the search engines. SEM uses SEO, but it also uses other tools such as:
- Pay-per-click and pay-for-placement management
- Link popularity
- Reputation development
- Trusted feed programs
- Performance monitoring and reporting
SEM takes advantage of paid tools such as Google AdWords and also Pay-Per-Click advertising. It is the process in where businesses market their website through the search engines, and can be via natural listings, but is mostly through paid and sponsored listings. This paid portion is the stark difference between SEO and SEM. With SEM, you are essentially paying the search engines to place your site on the top of the search results. The biggest example of this is the results you get on the very top of the page when you use Google. The yellowish box on the top of the page features search listings that have ads attached to them. Look closer and you will see “ads related to” in the box. These are ads are sponsored by these businesses so that their website will appear at the beginning of the results. The more they are willing to pay per click they get, the higher up their website will appear. Is this the most cost effective marketing strategy? Definitely not. But is it effective nonetheless? The signs point to yes. You can get your business to the top of your search listing quickly and easily if you are willing to dish out the dough.