Many people use the terms Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) interchangeably as if they are the same thing. But they are very different internet marketing techniques and should not be referred to as one thing.
Search Engine Marketing is a term to describe the full array of promotional technologies used by internet marketers to increase their online traffic as well as visibility for their websites. Search Engine Optimization is just one part of the whole SEM equation. When you talk about SEO you are basically referring to a number of strategies for getting a website ranked highly in search engines.
Search engine marketing experts employ several internet marketing methods concurrently:
1. Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising. This is a form of SEM where you pay to be ranked for certain keywords. Advertisers (usually internet marketers) pay for listings in search engines (Yahoo, Google and others). Search engines display ads in various spots in their listings as well as on websites based on the prices they receive. Google Adsense is the most well-known and successful PPC program on the internet.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are a lot of strategies that are used together for SEO. This includes inserting strategic keywords to websites often after carefully studying those used by their competitors, in an effort to increase their own rankings and site traffic. It also includes getting inbound links using any number of methods that can be used for obtaining backlinks. And using meta tags and title tags effectively. SEO is a whole internet marketing strategy in itself that takes a lot of time to learn and implement. SEO techniques are constantly changing and internet marketers have to always be learning to stay on top of the strategies.
3. Paid Inclusions. For advertisers, it often pays to be a part of marketing or shopping search engines, such as BixRate, Froogle, Shopzilla, MySimon, DealTime, and many others. It helps them to lure shoppers to their own websites for other purchases and customer lists.
In the current high-tech marketplace, entire organizations exist to provide internet marketing consulting, web developing, SEO and SEM solutions. Larger companies often have their own in-house staff to handle and implement internet marketing strategies. One of the main objectives is to create search engine friendly websites that attract large amounts of traffic and appeal to their target markets.