What is the difference between SEO and SEM
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) represent two of the
most popular types of website promotion. By utilizing both of these strategies, companies will
be vastly increasing their chances of being discovered on the internet, and turning those
discoveries into income. In this article we will take a quick look at each strategy and elaborate
on what they are and how they differ from one another.
Search Engine Optimization – In discussing SEO, it is important to separate it into two
segments: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO involves all the changes that can be
made to a particular website in order to boost its ranking in search engine results. This involves
many elements, but some of the more important ones are: making sure the content is keyword
rich, filling all meta-tags with proper keywords, keeping content fresh and complying with
search engine guidelines. Search engine result placement is highly influenced by these on-page
factors, but overdoing your keyword usage or violating policy in other ways will result in
penalties that will send your site tumbling down in results.
Off-page SEO can be defined as all efforts that generate back-links to your site. This can involve
constructive blog commenting, article posting, social media efforts, press releases, link trading
and many other aspects. If these links are determined by the search engines to be of a certain
quality, they will contribute to boosting search engine results for the linked pages.
Search Engine Marketing - SEM is a method of promoting websites and generating revenue
and sales leads through targeted ad placements via search engines and contextual ads on
relevant web pages. SEM is different than SEO in that it focuses on generating conversions
through search engines rather than strictly elevating the search results of a particular website.
While SEO and SEM have separate goals and involve very different methodologies, they
complement one another and must both be part of any successful internet marketing
Michael Spooner writes on behalf of inSegment, Boston's leader in internet marketing, search
engine marketing, and the home of Boston SEO.