Friday, November 27, 2009
Search engine optimization and search engine marketing are similar in many ways. Each online marketing discipline requires a strong understanding of purpose and functionality. The practice of SEO requires a basic knowledge of search engines and how they work at their core. SEM requires an understanding of online marketing and advertising. SEO can be boiled down to this - where your site is ranked on major search engines is a direct result of your understanding and application of best practices in the area of SEO. Search engine marketing is based on an understanding of online ad campaigns that are implemented on advertising networks. The largest online ad network is Google followed by Yahoo! and MSN. These ad networks basically work the same way. You open an ad account, place an online ad and when users search for terms related to your ad, the advertisement displays. When someone clicks on your ad, you pay a fee.
SEO is different than SEM because it is based on natural search results versus paid results. Search engine optimization techniques can be better categorized as ‘On Page Optimization’ and ‘Off Page Optimization’.
On page optimization directs you on how to design your web page in an effort to improve ranking and search ability. In other words on page optimization is closely tied to web site design and Off page is more associated with factors outside your website itself.
The purpose of SEO is to generate natural traffic to your website. After a browser completes a search on Google or other major search engine, the resulting list is based on each search engine’s algorithm. When users click on these results you do not pay. Search engine marketing differs in that you pay when users take an action. The amount you pay varies on the competitiveness of your keywords and the position in which you want your ad to display.
The difference between Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be simply put in this way: one is the foundation and the other is the bricks upon the foundation. Without the foundation of a solidly-implemented SEO on your website, the house (or your website) in this case, cannot adequately support the marketing efforts put forth in your marketing plans.
Think of your website as a building. Solid SEO would be the base or foundation that supports the site. It could possibly consist of bricks, mortar, cement, and stone. In this case, bricks could be functional, relevant and user-friendly navigation. Mortar could be properly placed tags, headers, and proper page renaming. The cement or the glue that holds it all together is the adequately researched, reviewed and analyzed usage of keywords and phrases which are relevant to your website, your message, your products and your marketing goals. Also, SEO as a general rule is a one-time deal. The marketing efforts must be maintained, and can be built upon layer after layer. The blueprint for the SEM can change month to month, or daily even, according to the marketing budget, the goals, objectives, and the time spent on marketing the site across the entire World Wide Web.
SEM can be thought of as the trusses or the supports that begin to erect the building to new heights. They are firmly attached to the foundation, yet separate entities. The marketing efforts are what will promote your fully optimized site, allowing potential visitors more opportunities to arrive on your optimized site through a variety of sources. SEM, on the other hand, is a continuously on-going process. Even once your SEM efforts help bring your website to a number one ranking for a particular search term, the effort must be continued in order to maintain the ranking.
There is always someone on your site's tail, working hard to take over your coveted ranked spot on any of the major search engines. So, in order to succeed, ensure that you have a solid SEO backing your online efforts and a champion SEM plan to beat the competition.