by: Brian Holzberger
In recent years, search engine optimization, or SEO, has become a familiar term to many in the business world, especially for website designers and content writers. Alongside SEO, there has evolved another term, known as SEM, or search engine marketing. Search engines use keywords to tell it what a particular site is about, and categorizes it accordingly. If a particular site is for a company selling custom furniture, then it might use the keywords “custom built table.” Web developers and content writers take advantage of the search engines by inserting keywords in the site content. These keywords, relevant to the site, snag the search engines so that they come up in results when someone does an internet search for those terms. This is known as “search engine optimization.” SEM takes it a step further, actively using keywords and search engines to market the website. Search engine marketing, sometimes shortened to simply “search marketing,” works to publicize a website and make it more visible so that it gains more traffic. Search engine optimization is the first step.
Used effectively, SEO can noticeably increase a website’s traffic. Internet surfers perform a search using a particular set of terms, which bring up a list of relevant websites. Proper use of SEO increases the chances of a particular website to not only show up in the results, but to appear high in the listings so that the user is more likely to see it.The second part of SEM has to do with paid advertising. It still takes advantage of internet searches, but this time the website shows up as a paid advertisement alongside the search results. The business pays the search engine, such as Google, to allow a site link to appear high up in the results, making the site more visible to customers. These ads are not a part of the actual search results, but are instead set apart, perhaps above the results or to the side of the page.
There are two types of SEM paid advertising, referring to the way that advertisers pay for the ads. These are PPC and CPC. PPC stands for pay-per-click, while CPC is written out as cost-per-click. These same type of ads also often appear on websites similar to the product or services being advertised. In the search engine results, they are usually clearly set apart from the “organic” listings, in the interests of keeping the search results natural.
While it is possible that a business can grow and gain traffic without using any SEM techniques, the growth is minimal, and far short of what it could be with proper use of SEM. In today’s technologically-driven world, an online presence is a must. Phone books and paper business directories are quickly becoming outdated as more and more businesses move online. It is more than just having a website for your business. What is the point of a website that no one sees? SEM drives traffic to your site, increasing your overall business growth.
SEM is important for a good online presence, but poorly done, it can in fact do just the opposite. A poor keyword density, such as keyword stuffing, can lower a site’s page rankings, decreasing traffic. A good SEO company is not focused on just the keywords, but on making the business grow. This includes adding just the right amount of keywords, placing them so they are relevant to the site content. The success of a good SEO company is seen in your site’s increased rankings and traffic.