Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - What Is The Difference?
by Greg Cryns
Let's start with SEO.
SEO means your website has been fine tuned to satisfy the
needs of both search engines and people who do the searching.
Some things you need to do for your site for good SEO include:
1. Title tags - each title tag should be different. The description tag should entice the searcher to click on the link. SEO experts know that this tag should contain very specific keywords as they relate to that page's theme. He also knows that search
engines don't want us to spam them with too many of the same keywords on the page. You get penalized for such spam.
2. Attention to keywords and key phrases - each page should have a specific focus on the idea you want to impart there. Perfecting key phrases is the work of SEM.
3. You want to be sure you do not confuse the search engines by overusing website technology. The search engines are getting better about handling flash presentations, for example, but I would not depend on flash entirely. CGI scripts can cause a web page to open slowly. Use scripts sparingly.
SEM includes SEO since it strives to bring in good traffic. However, SEM addresses the content of your web pages more than the technical aspects.
First, we need to define "traffic"? Simply put, traffic is people who visit your website. How they get there is another issue.
There are different types of traffic. Essentially there is lousy traffic and good traffic (also called "targeted traffic" in SEO lingo). People who search for something but are surprised that what they see on your site has little or nothing to do with what they wanted to find are obviously not the kind of people you want. This is the least effective type of traffic to promoting your product or service.
Then there are people who arrive at your website and spend some time there because you are offering something very much in line with what they were looking for.
If you are an expert at editing online articles, for example, and a searcher searcher was looking for someone to edit his new book he may have typed in "editor". He would quickly leave your site after he discovered you only edit online articles. But if you did edit books for a living, he would be an excellent prospect for you.
People these days are more apt to type in "search phrases" instead of one word generic terms because they are internet savvy. They know they will get poor results from one word searches.
There are quite a few valid ways to steer traffic to your website. SEM addresses how to get people to your site directly through the search engines rather than through bulletin boards or through social networking, for example.
SEM experts will often recommend that you employ Google Analytics or similar tools. Analytics will tell you what people do after they get to your site. Which page do they most often leave on? Can you improve that page? What do people do before they buy your product?
SEM experts know the value of reciprocal linking and how to get people to link to your site. Some say that reciprocal linking is a dead issue while others understand that it can strengthen your site.
A SEO sage's advice should be heeded, in my opinion. Jill Whalen of High Rankings says it like this: Put up content for your visitors, not for the search engines. Make a great site and you will be very happy with the results. Good advice.
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