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Search Engine Marketing

Although search engine optimization (SEO) has some relationship to search engine marketing (SEM) there are clearly differences. This article helps define the relationship between SEO and SEM, as well as the key elements of search engine marketing. Compare SEO vs. SEM Here.

Search Engine Marketing Is Understood in Relation to Search Engine Optimization

Although people have different views of the relationship, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is usually defined in relationship or contrast to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are three main views:

• View 1 believes that Search Engine Marketing refers to all activities undertaken in the promotion of a website. In this view SEM is an all-encompassing term and SEO is only a small portion or subset of one’s marketing efforts, the part focused on the look, feel, and standards-based creation of a website.

• View 2 believes that Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization are just two names for the same thing—everything one does, both on one’s own site and on other sites, to promote one’s website and the products or services one offers.

• View 3 believes that SEO and SEM are two sides of a coin.

  • Search Engine Optimization is focused on making any alterations or additions to a website or following standards that will lead to higher natural or organic search ranking when people search for particular keywords. This includes generating an XML sitemap to assist search engine spiders in crawling the site and indexing pages, naming pages in accord with guidelines for human readability, using tags for pages and images, and creating content that is well-written and informative, avoiding keyword stuffing. SEO tries to make sure that the site will be on the first page of results for the keyword(s) chosen.
  • Search Engine Marketing is focused on taking steps and using strategies outside of SEO to boost the Return on Investment (ROI) of the web activities.

What Are the Elements of Search Engine Marketing?

Different analysis include different categories of strategies within the realm of search engine marketing. Here are some of the areas of focus that are included at least sometimes:

Paid inclusion or sponsored listings—paying a fee to have a website included in the search index of a search engine. Some search engines, for example Google, do not participate in paid inclusion—advertisements are both labeled and separated from search results. People who use search engines that do offer paid inclusion may, nevertheless, be of the opinion that if the website were really worth its salt, it would appear in the natural search results and not require a paid listing.

Contextual Advertising—providing users with advertisements for keyword-related products and services. Because keyword targeting makes it more likely that website visitors will actually be interested in the advertised content, this has been found to work well. Search engines themselves use contextual advertising placed beside search results. Google AdSense is an example of a contextual advertising network.  Others include Microsoft adCenter and Yahoo! Publisher Network.

Social Media Marketing, also known as SMM—providing users with means of interacting with a company via social media, for example, a Twitter account or Facebook page or undertaking a social media marketing campaign. As with View 2 of SEM and SEO, some people call SMM SMO, which stands for Social Media Optimization.

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