The Difference Between SEO And SEM

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are Two different things altogether. The two things go hand in hand but are often thought of as one thing. Search Engine Optimization is what is done to your site to ensure that the end users have a friendly easy to use web site with SEF Menus and SEF URLS that Google, Yahoo, MSN and crawl through and find your content. Search Engine Marketing is doing the advertising and marketing of your site. Ironical this is all done “offsite” whereas SEO is mostly done “onsite”. SEO is a more technical process than SEM and involves a deeper understanding of search engine algorithms.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves advertising and target marketing in order to draw traffic to websites. This includes:

Pay-for-inclusion – Many SEM companies guarantee your site will be indexed by the search engines within a short period of time, and if you really want to you can directly submit your site to the engines. DO NOT DO THIS until your site is done. Also do not go around your SEO/SEM advertiser’s back and do this multiple times, this is a form of spam which you are penalized for. Patience is the key. Submission fees are required for submissions to search engines and directories.

Email Marketing (aka “Email Blasts” and “Spamming”) – I firmly do not believe in Email Marketing. Unless you already have your own list of clients that read your emails, don’t Email Market. I never open spam and everyone I know hates being spammed. So why pay to piss off 10,000 people or more every week? Conversely the Email Marketer will tell you not to SEO or SEM your web site in more cost effective ways. They want you to keep paying for Email Blasts. I think spending your time and money on natural position on Google, Yahoo, MSN and is a much better business model then sending out 10,000 emails where 90% of them are not even read.

Traditional Ads (PPC – Pay Per Click) – Ads are displayed on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) generally these are text based ads, where the copy is written by the SEO/SEM advertiser. Ads are based on the Keyword entered in the search and fees are triggered by impressions. You pay for the ad even if it’s not clicked through. You want to work with your SEO/SEM advertiser so that your ads Click Through Rate has a high percentage. You can easily spend hundreds a day for very little ROI.

Link Exchanging – The SEO/SEM advertiser trades for one way, reciprocal and three way link exchanges while making sure they are of the same niche as you web site is and not spammy web sites. Its the hardest part of getting your web site going.

ROI tracking – The SEO/SEM advertiser tracks your Web Site’s stats

SEM and SEO are both a necessary evil if you want a successful web site. Make sure that you work with your SEO/SEM advertiser to Market your web site very strongly both before and after you enjoy organic listings in Google, Yahoo, MSN and Remember if you website is brand new and has no content its going to go no where fast. Content is King. Listen to your SEO/SEM advertiser.


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  1. #1 by keerthy on June 11, 2008 - 4:53 am

    Good post, in short you have given a clear differnce between SEO and SEM.

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