There are basic differences between SEO and SEM. These require different skill sets and different resources while both take time to successfully implement. Search engine optimization is based upon the design of the various search engines and the algorithms they use to perform the searches. Frequency of topic word usage, page design, page links and referrals to other website pages. These are what is known as White Hat methods. They have the advantage of maintaining website stability in the search engines, all of which have designs within their software to identify and isolate websites having software which artificially promote the website when it in fact has poor design, low link numbers and erratic word use.
Search engine marketing places website promotional ads on the first page of the searches or in the right hand placement on the search pages, linked to predefined search terms. These are paid promotions, often based on click through usage of the ads. The user or website designer/webmaster creates the website with deliberate content related to the product being promoted on the website using frequently referenced search terms. This same strategy is useful on product sites, political sites, historical references, educational sites, scientific sites, current news sites and, of course, part of the backbone of internet marketing graphic and explicit sites.
There are guidelines loosely based on common sense and the sound knowledge of the basics of internet search methodology. To begin with keeping the identifier URL clear and short would seem essential but it is not always employed. Content is best when it is well written and straightforward. Utilize keywords related to the topic of the website which show frequent search engine use of the words from search engine statistics. These statistics are available on the internet as well as in professional journals focused on academic studies of web usage. Creating this content requires expertise and experience. The greater the time spent on the web, specifically in the area and topic of website design and related content.
Search engine marketing is closer to traditional marketing. It requires an ongoing marketing budget, most often accompanied by professional design .To date these ads are primarily text only yet it can be expected that as the technological infrastructure of the internet increases in its strength and hardware graphics will accompany the paid ads, with video appearing in time on the most robust sites. The content of the ads can be linked to past search engine choices made by the specific individual searching for the content. This is possible with the larger searches which have developed customized searches based on past search history.
This feature affects both SEO and SEM by creating something known as search engine bubbles. These draw on the individual's prior searches, creating searches with differing results from the same search engine, at the same time, using the same search terms entered in the same order. It is this feature which can require different ads to reach different individuals. It is also the leading edge of marketing today as the industry designs individually targeted ads based on both the content of the visual materials viewed, the text content, the timing of the content and the order of the searches or programs seen.
These changes in marketing and promotion of content hold the potential for social and informational stratification to increase. It is also increasingly apparent that meeting the challenges this presents will require innovative strategies to reach mass markets with content, products and services having wide appeal.
Jason Bayless is a professional blogger that gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice. He writes for BestSEOCompanies.com, a nationally recognized comparison website of the best SEO companies in the United States.