Are Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation one and the same thing?

Ok then, hands up if you’ve heard the terms SEO and SEM? I guess most people have. We all know they stand for search engine optimisation and search engine marketing. But do we really know what they mean? Are they the same thing? Is one term interchangeable with the other? Well, you maybe surprised to learn that the majority of people do believe they are the same. Unfortunately, the majority of people are actually wrong on this one. Search engine marketing is in fact a complete marketing campaign strategy: search engine optimisation is simply part of this overall strategy. Confused? Well don’t be. It’s easier to understand than you might think.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

As already stated SEM is generalised term that represents a complete search engine marketing campaign. This umbrella term includes everything from search engine AdWords campaigns, online banner adds, local, regional and national advertising, a complete link development programme, video, mobile, content marketing and a social media programme development, as well as search engine optimisation. A search engine marketing programme is a comprehensive and valuable branding strategy, that can help any business achieve bigger and better things. As already said, seo is just one specific string to this bow.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Seo is the art of optimising a website to make it more visible to the search engines. It’s a vital tool that can help businesses attract more attention and consequently garner a greater number of customers. Seo includes both on-site and off-site strategies. The purpose of seo is to review and develop a website. This means that practitioners will look at developing a web-friendly design, a clean code and search engine –friendly URLs. They also try to ensure that the website has strong and relevant content, appropriate and targeted keywords, optimised Meta data, calls to action and strong link development. Without a comprehensive seo strategy, websites will struggle to gain prominence in the search engines and will just lie undetected.

Does that make it any clearer? If the answer’s no, then look at it this way. Many seo practitioners offer what they term as a ‘complete’ search engine marketing strategy and guarantee that if you use their services, then your business will flourish. What they’re actually offering is a sort of hybrid SEM strategy: a kind of paired-down version that won’t necessarily do what it promises to do. Ok you might get a bit of AdWords in there and a little bit of social media work. If you’re really lucky you might also get a bit of banner work and a separate website page of your own linked to their corporate sight. What you’re not getting is a complete SEM package. It’s not even a complete seo package. It’s actually just fiddling around the edges.

If your business really wants to pull itself up by its bootstraps and go after the business you’ve been meaning to target for years, then the only to do this and achieve real and tangible results is to use the services of a tried and tested professional, experienced in both SEM and SEO. You need to hire someone who’s been there and done it. This has become crucially important as the web is getting increasingly sophisticated and deadly serious since Google launched its crusade against poor quality website content. Algorithms now rule the day. Only a professional, with proven credentials in web design, internet marketing, development and marketing skills and seo experience will be able to deliver the results you want.

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