What are SEM and SEO?

For those that operate an online blog, or an online business, it’s important to learn the meaning of SEO and SEM, as well as the difference between the two. Understanding what SEM and SEO are is important in order to fully grasp the difference between the two. To put it simply, both SEO and SEM are a form of online marketing that aims increase visibility on search engines.

What is SEO?

SEO, or SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, refers to the steps that are taken to make a blog or online business rank higher on search engines, without paying pay-per-click advertisement. This is typically done either on-site or off-site.

On-site SEO is the process of developing keyword optimized content in order for search engines to consider it relevant for the keyword search performed by a visitor. Developers do a few solid things to attract search engines attention.

  1. Prior to writing the content, do research on which keywords should be included in the content. One of these should be a main keyword.
  2. When possible, use a descriptive URL that accurately represents the content of the page. The URL used should be specific to the content of the page and should include the main keyword. The URL should be easy to remember for the user.
  3. Include keyword variations throughout. Keyword variations (as opposed to just the main keyword) are vital. Titles and headlines are good places for these as well.
  4. Quality content drives SEO, but so does quantity. Be thorough and aim for long form content.

Off-site SEO has to do with authority and how other people in the web perceive your content.  Consider off-site SEO as word of mouth referrals prior to the digital age. People only recommended businesses they had used and were informed about. In this way, when other sites link back to a particular page, search engines assume that the page being linked to must be informative and helpful. In this manner it would earn a higher ranking. A method to build backlinks are guest posts on sites, commenting on other blogs, client reviews on review website, and the number of times your ranking keywords are seen across the web while associated with your brand, etc.

What is SEM?

SEM, or SEARCH ENGINE MARKETIN,  includes SEO, but is only a portion of your overall internet marketing strategy. SEM has an overall goal of increasing visibility to search engines. As demonstrated, SEO plays a large part of that. However, there is also Paid Search Advertising (PSA). PSA occurs when the company pays search engines for higher rankings. One of the most commonly recognized forms of PSA is Google AdWords.  Google AdWords is a PPC, or a Pay-Per-Click form of PSA. This means that the user only pays when a potential client clicks on their advertisement. These are often found at the top of the search results. SEM is considered a vital part of any internet marketing strategy as this form of marketing is targeted towards those that are searching for a specific keyword. The conversion rate for SEM is much higher than for other forms of internet marketing.

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