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SEO vs. SEM. The Same Thing?

Oct 25, 2012 10:28:40 AM


Everyone loves a refresher course and besides, no one wants to get left out of the acronym fun. Let’s take a minute to explore the differences between SEO and SEM. Are they the same thing? In short, the answer is “no!”

Think of SEM (Search Engine Marketing) as a broad, overarching term that includes all those things that can be done to utilize the technology of search engines with the goal of increasing a site’s traffic, or its “stickiness.” SEO (Search Engine Optimization), while a subset of SEM, is the act of optimizing a website for organic search engine listings. Sounds complicated, huh? Not so much. Some aspects of SEM that are generally thought of as outside the realm of SEO are paid search services, traditional ads and pay-per-click advertising. Though utilizing these three aspects of SEM could very well draw you a good amount of visitors, you’ll have to do more than shell out money for these services if you want to keep visitors’ attention. And that’s where SEO comes in.

Online marketing experts agree that no SEM campaign is complete without SEO. Even if you are going to spend additional money on advertising and paid placement, SEO must be your first step when it comes to promoting your site. Although many companies pay big bucks to have professionals pump up their website’s copy with SEO-friendly keywords, you can start small by getting in on the action yourself. Make sure to apply a liberal but strategic dose of keywords to your content and don’t forget to monitor which words are hooking in the most traffic by checking your website’s stats. And remember, it’s all about specific, less competitive keywords. Remember, quality is key, so your words need to closely correlate with what your website has to offer. Need help choosing competitive keywords? Check out Google’s keyword suggestion tool .

Katey Pfeil

Written by Katey Pfeil

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