Search engine marketing versus search engine optimisation

Marketing is an integral part of any business, not just today but since many decades. It is only in the last few years that Internet marketing became a major part of commerce, bringing up a new trend called e-commerce. The benefits and profits from advertising over the Internet were found so enormous and convenient that very soon most of the businesses, both old and new, started creating their own websites. And by the way the popularity of search engines increased it didn’t take much time for business owners to understand how beneficial it is to make use of this popularity. Thus, we saw the beginnings of marketing through search engines or, as we call it now, SEM.

And with the competition becoming tough, it became evident that it is not enough that the websites are found in the search engines, but that they must be found in the front pages of search engines. Consequently, we find the growth of the next trend, SEO or search engine optimisation.

The terms SEM and SEO are often swapped in daily conversation to mean either one of them. Even by the so-called “experts” in the field. However, a cursory glance at the definition of both is enough to realize that that is not the case. Let’s take a look at both.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) includes all the techniques that make use of search engines to promote a website in the search engines. Its aim is to increase the traffic to the site. And for a business website, SEM is mainly to increase the profits.

Now, you might argue that this is what SEO also does. Well, you are right. SEO also tries to promote a website in the search engines through various ways. But here, all the techniques are direct efforts, commonly called organic techniques, like conducting thorough keyword research, creating genuine content, collecting quality backlinks, etc.

However, in the case of SEM any method of advertising online is a part of it. And SEO is one such component in SEM, the others being Pay per Click (PPC), paid inclusion, directory submission, etc. While SEM tries to find the website in the various search engines, SEO is mainly to bring it to the top positions in the front pages of search engines.

The aims of both are the same – to bring a website to the attention of the users and search engine. SEM concentrates on the former whereas SEO on the latter so that the former could see it. So, the point to remember here is that SEO is always great but an SEM that includes SEO is greater.

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