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Knowing The Difference Between Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing

For a casual internet user, concepts like SEO and SEM escape their attention as they busily jump from one website to another.  Little do these casual internet users know that these concepts determine much of what appears on the search engine results page when they type in a word or group of words in any search engine’s search tab.  These concepts are also behind all those pop ups and advertisements that link them to more websites, which may or may not be related to their original search, they would often times subsequently explore.

Even many of those who have heard about SEO and SEM are often clueless on the difference of the two terms as one is commonly used alongside  the other.  There are even some who have the misconception that SEO and SEM mean the same thing and they use the two terms interchangeably.

Well, for starters, SEO stands for search engine optimization while SEM stands for search engine marketing.  Used together they are methods used by website creators, SEO consultants  and marketers to improve exposure, traffic and sales while attaining a better rank for their websites on the search engines.  This is especially true for website creators who use their websites to promote a certain product or service.  How these website creators use SEO or SEM or both depends on their marketing strategies.

Aside from knowing the meaning of SEO and SEM, there are also a number of differences between the two and knowing these differences may help you determine the right strategy to use for your own website:


SEO or search engine optimization deals with how web creators develop and redevelop their website’s content, structure, and quality.  Through these, they give their websites a better chance of appearing on the first few pages of the SERPs or the search engine results pages whenever an internet user types in a particular keyword phrase on a search engine’s search tab.

SEM or search engine marketing, on the other hand, is more about marketing websites or products to optimise sales from many different sources currently available on the internet.

So one is about optimizing a websites position on the search engines while the other is about optimizing sales via the search engines.


The function of search engine optimization is to attain better SERP rankings so a web creator uses SEO strategies to constantly optimize his website to cater to the needs of the web user and to make it easier of search engine spiders or web crawlers to determine whether the content of the website is relevant to the word or words being searched.

The main function of search engine marketing or SEM, on the other hand, is to attain more exposure for the website, web creators using SEM strategies usually use blogs, online advertisements, partner and sponsored websites, and internet articles, among others to attract or catch the eye of the internet user.


To optimize a website using search engine optimization strategies involves the need of regularly tweaking the website to keep up with the rapidly changing demands of the internet trends and behaviour.  Restructuring may involve changing content, editing meta tags and html codes, and reorganizing the website’s site map, back-link strategies, internal linking, content building just to name a few.  When these SEO strategies are undertaken properly, the website becomes more useful and will be visited more often by internet surfers.  The website will also gain more exposure and the website will have a better chance of improving it’s rank on search engines.

Submission of the name and URL of the website to various web directories and search engines, even just to inform them of the existence of a website, is common but a small part of the over-all process in search engine optimization.

To push a website’s visibility and work on making a website more popular, marketers using search engine marketing often make use of pay-per-click or PPC, pay per view or PPV and paid inclusion.

If you are serious about either of the above, there is nothing better on the market (at the time of writing) than this piece of software. Go to that link and watch the video about the three goldren rules of search traffic, you’ll be impressed if you’re not using it already.

..hope that helps,

Ray Baker