Search Engine Marketing (commonly abbreviated as SEM) is the term used to encompass all the elements involved in using search engines as tools for online marketing. The more often heard abbreviation, SEO, stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is a very effective tool used in online marketing. Coming in a close second in terms of effectiveness is Paid Search.
Both tools attempt to allow a particular website to be “found” easily by the most popular search engines, and rank highly in the search results. It stands to reason that when a prospect is searching for something your company sells, they aren’t going to look through dozens (or perhaps even hundreds) of pages of results. The most desirable place to be is at, or near, the top position in any given set of search results. That way, your prospect sees your website’s address above any number of competitors in the listings.
Search Engine Optimization attempts to accomplish this task “organically,” by manipulating the content of your site so search engines find it highly relevant in relation to specific search terms or keywords. Paid Search attempts to accomplish the same goal by paying for the privilege of being rated as highly relevant. With most search engines, the “sponsored” results (which is just a nicer way of saying “paid for”) are displayed most prominently, appearing above or alongside the main search results. How this is accomplished will be explained in a later chapter.
For now, it’s enough to know these three things:
Search Engine Marketing is a term for all the tools that allow a website to be found more effectively by search engines.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is usually the least expensive way of enabling a website to achieve higher rankings in search results, but it takes time.
Paid Search is the quickest and easiest way to become highly ranked by search engines, although it can be expensive.