Let’s Explain the terms SEM And SEO

Let’s Explain the terms SEM And SEO

SEM vs SEO vs BOTHMost people who have a business website have heard both of the terms SEM and SEO. You have been told repeatly, I’m sure, that you need to make sure your website has to have good SEO. But do you really know what they are or the differences between them? I’m going to explain the terms, some techniques and a little about each so you can decide which you need for your website.

Search Engine Marketing, or as it is referred “SEM”.

According to Searchengineland.com, SEM is “the process of gaining traffic from or visibility on search engines.” The phrase is sometimes shortened to just “search marketing”. There are two broad areas of SEM. Those are:

  • Gaining traffic through free SEO efforts
  • Gaining traffic through paid search advertising

SEM is a form of Internet marketing that is used to increase a website’s visibility in search engine results (SERPs) through the use of contextual advertising, or paid placement. Most businesses and individuals would feel that the single most defining factor is its use of unnatural, paid techniques to optimize a website. Some examples of paid search advertising techniques include paid directory listings, search engine advertising (banner ads, sponsored links, etc.), and pay per click campaigns.

There are many advantages to running an SEM campaign. Traffic that is paid for is somewhat predictable. It allows a business owner to forecast sales volume based on prior performance and budget for advertising expenses.

Search engine marketing reaches a large number of consumers, and they are usually part of a pre-qualified, targeted audience. The search engine company that you advertise with will offer their own form of promotion to boost your click through rate, and receive more revenue from you.

Increased inbound links and visitor traffic aids in reaching the top of SERPs. The design and content of advertising is nearly limitless, allowing the marketer to be creative and change material often. The conversion rates are usually higher.

Of course, running an SEM campaign can be quite costly, particularly if you are paying for click-through on the most popular keywords. Some consumers tend to shy away from companies that utilize certain techniques, such as sponsored listings, seeing them as spammers. Beware of companies saying they can “guarantee” your website ranking as some use spamming techniques which may get you an increase in visitors to your website, but also get your removed by the search engine companies for spamming.

Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO

Search Engine Land defines SEO as “the process of getting traffic from the ‘free’, ‘organic’, ‘editoral’ or ‘natural’ listings on search engines”. Everyone has their favorite search engine, whether it is Google, Bing, Yahoo or others, which each use a technical calculation to return several pages of results covering everything from websites, videos, images and local listinsg, all ranked based on what the search engine considers the most relevant to users. In other words, a business can cater to search engines by performing tasks known to increase their rankings without paying for online advertising.

Search engine optimization includes such things as posting comments on blogs to create inbound links, listing complementary sites for external links, including Meta tags on website pages, bookmarking content, and a host of other organic methods to increase position on SERPs. Perhaps the greatest advantage to SEO is that it costs nothing but time. Consumers generally think of organic SEO more favorably, seeing it as an unbiased form of promotion. The result of increased organic traffic will be steady, and not affected by the duration of a paid campaign. Maintenance of a website that is already optimized is minimal.

There are disadvantages to SEO. A primary one is that you have little control of rankings and links that appear in search engines. Website owners and search marketers need to be careful to comply with the rules of search engine companies or risk restriction or banishment from the search engine. Often it is hard to determine exactly what type of marketing to do, and how effective each technique truly is. Some business owners find it difficult to strike a balance between appealing to search engine “bots” or “spiders” and human visitors alike.

The bottom line is that there can be no truly effective SEM campaign without at least some basic SEO. SEM may reach more targeted prospective customers, but SEO is the practice that will ultimately drive traffic, rankings, and conversions for the long run. SEM can get your website into the search engines quicker, but SEO can keep you there as well as make your rankings better suited for your target audience.

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