Search Engine Marketing

What SEM really is...and Is'nt

Many people have different definitions of the term search engine marketing (SEM). Even search professionals disagree with each other, including representatives from the commercial web search engines. I am not surprised that the average shopper for search engine marketing services is confused with all of the information being reported on this topic, both on- and offline. Which leads me to the question:

I'm confused. What is the difference between search engine optimization and search engine marketing? Aren't they the same thing? It is quite common for people (including journalists and even search professionals themselves) confuse the terms "search engine marketing" and "search engine optimization." Search engine optimization is a one type of search engine marketing. Search engine advertising is another type of search engine marketing.

One of the most widespread beliefs about search engine marketing (SEM) is search engine advertising equals search marketing. If your online marketing firm runs advertising campaigns on Google, the firm must specialize in SEM, right?

Although this belief is common, it's hardly accurate. As I said previously, search engine advertising is only one component of the search marketing process. Marketing campaigns involve branding, sales, customer service, distribution, trade shows, radio, TV, direct mail, and so forth. And advertising, too. So when hiring an SEM company, be sure it provides a variety of services, not only advertising.

Search engine marketing encompasses a number of different skills, including but not limited to:
  • Search engine advertising
  • Search engine optimization
  • Link development and social media optimization (SMO),/
  • Specialized search engine optimization (video, local, mobile, etc.)

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