The Differences Between SEM and SEO

The differences between SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) can be confusing.

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves implementing a strategic plan to ensure a web site can be found by a search engine. The goal of SEO is to obtain a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (Google, Yahoo, etc). Internet users usually don't click through multiple pages of search results. Thus, site rank is essential for directing more traffic to your site.

SEO is made of industry practices that webmasters and content producers use, to achieve a higher rank in search engine results. These include:

- Creating and publishing quality content on a regular basis
- Using keywords and relevant naming conventions
- Link building, especially through social media
- Implementing web master tools made available by search engines

SEM is made of marketing options available through a search engine’s technology. It includes things such as SEO, advertising, and anything else that increases traffic to your web site. All search engines offer different tools, so research needs to be done when choosing a search engine to market with. Note that you usually have to pay to use search engine SEM tools - click ads, etc. However, the good news is that search engines will only market to those individuals specifically interested in what you do, or a demographic that you specify.

For example, when people search for "Computer Consulting Fishers, Indiana", the results page is where SEO technologies can assist your web site in being more visible. The paid advertising is prominently displayed above or beside search results. This is a result of SEM.

It's important to mention that SEO and SEM are not competing services. SEO is considered a subset of SEM. If you want to conduct business on the internet, implementing a SEO and SEM strategy is essential.

For more information about SEO and SEM, watch the short video below:

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