Search engine optimization and search engine marketing can be a confusing concept to grasp. Is there even a difference between them?
Both terms are often used interchangeably, which makes matters even worse. It is important to understand the difference between the two terms and that they are different.
What is search engine optimization (SEO)?
SEO is essentially a component of the larger category, SEM. According to Google’s Knowledge Graph, search engine optimization is “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.”
The SEO industry is continually changing due to the frequent changes made to Google’s algorithm. But, there is one aspect of SEO that stays constant: SEO is made up of On-Page and Off-Page activities.
What components does SEO include?
As stated above, SEO is comprised of two different activities.
· On-Page SEO includes:
-Incorporating selective keyword naturally into title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, alt text, etc.
-Blog posts and page copy that is written and optimized with quality
-Clean and formatting page URLS
-Optimized page load speed
-Google authorship incorporated
-Social sharing integration within your content
And much more!
· Off-Page SEO includes:
-Creating a high quality, natural backlink profile (aka having other high quality/authoritative sites link to your site naturally)
-Social sharing signals
-Social bookmarking (Stumbleupon, Reddit)
-List goes on here too!
What is search engine marketing (SEM)?
According to Wikipedia, “Search engine marketing is a form of Internet marketing that involved the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPS) through optimization and advertising.” SEM includes SEO tactics, as well as several other search marketing tactics.
What components does SEM include?
Other than search engine optimization, SEM includes the use of paid search, such as pay per click (PPC) listings and advertisements. Most of the time, SEM strictly includes PPC campaigns and activities, but if you use SEO and paid search, that falls under SEM efforts.
What is the main difference of SEO and SEM?
The main difference between these two terms is that search engine optimization is simply a component of search engine marketing. As mentioned above, SEM includes components of paid search, such as PPC and also SMM (social media marketing).
It is important to note that you should never use the terms SEO and SEM interchangeably, because although they work hand in hand, they are not the same term.
Rende, N. (2014, June 19). What's the Difference Between SEO and SEM? [FAQS]. Retrieved from Hubspot: https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/seo-sem-faqs