If you have a website for your business (and you should!), then you have probably heard the terms SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and wondered whether they are interchangeable.
The short answer is no (although some consultants see it that way). Put simply SEO is just one part of SEM, which tends to focus more on paid advertising and links.
So, an SEO strategy will include such things as backlinks, keyword-rich content and blog commenting, while SEM will include all of this, plus paid directory listings and internet advertising.
When you are looking to hire someone to improve your search engine ranking, understanding the difference between SEM and SEO will help you avoid getting hoodwinked by the modern equivalent of a snake-oil salesman.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing is about increasing your visibility and traffic from search engines. Technically, this includes SEO, but in reality is more about the paid side of search engines – such as Google Adwords – or the “sponsored results” that you see after typing in a search.
Getting a good paid search result is a very valuable thing – it can bring heaps of targeted traffic and results are available very quickly. But it can be complicated and takes some expertise, so it is wise to outsource to someone who knows what they are doing – otherwise you could be throwing good money after bad.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A good SEO strategy will involve doing certain things to help a website move higher in the search results for chosen keywords. It involves Google and other search engines “seeing” your website organically without paying for advertising.
It takes longer to see results with SEO than SEM, but once your site ranks well, the traffic will keep coming in without paying for advertising.
Again, it can be a complicated exercise and the success or otherwise depends on the consultant you engage, as well as how much competition your chosen keywords have.
Both will bring traffic to your site, but SEO has more long-term advantages – with SEM, the minute you stop paying for advertising, your visitor numbers will drop.
The best website marketing strategy probably incorporates both – SEM for immediate results and SEO to build on that success.
If you want to improve your search engine ranking, and see more targeted visitors to your website, contact Direct Sites Online today on 02 9557 7623 or firstname.lastname@example.org.