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Web Design Resources

SEO and SEM Part 1

While SEO stands for search engine optimization, SEM stands for search engine marketing.

Search engine optimization is concerned mainly with improving the website itself (including directory submissions and link building) in order to increase its visibility in the search engines, while search engine marketing is concerned with promoting a site externally. 
While search engine optimization is the main object of most of these articles, we will explain the basics of SEM in this article.

Tools of SEM
SEM is really the main tool that keeps search engine companies in business.
By SEM we primarily refer to two important platforms that have been popularized by Google: Google Ad-Words and Google Ad Sense. The most important building block of the SEM process is the concept of Pay per Click (PPC). Simply put, PPC is an internet advertising program in which advertisers pay to a search engine in case a user clicks on their ad Google Ad Words is the de facto SEM platform today, although the first PPC platform was created by Bill Gross, the founder of Idea lab and Goto.com in 1996. 
While the biggest share is held by Google Ad Words, there are four other players in the PPC domain - yahoo, Microsoft, Baidu and Yandex, the latter two being mostly regional players.

The SEM Process
The SEM process comprises several phases: planning and research, content creation, campaign creation, campaign monitoring and analysis, and campaign refinements.
The SEM process looks similar to the SEO process. The figure below illustrates the various phase relationships. The process is highly iterative and contains two logical loops, as indicated by the double arrows.
As you can see, a minor loop occurs between the campaign monitoring and analysis phase and the campaign refinements phase. A major loop occurs between the campaign monitoring and analysis phase and the planning and research phase. .
[Source: O'Reilly - SEO Warrior, 2009]
Whether SEO or SEM?
While SEM can achieve results fast, SEO provides slow but gradual, long-term value. Most companies use SEM as a short term strategy, but prefer SEO as the real work horse.

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