SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is the process of promoting a business online to achieve higher visibility in the search engine listings. This can be achieved by using paid listings i.e. Google Adwords, which can be very expensive but the benefits are it can be quick to get traffic and is useful for seasonal and short term campaigns.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) means optimizing the HTML and other content of a web page/site for relevant, targeted key phrases in order ot attain higher natural listings than competing websites. SEO provides a less expensive long-term solution for increased, quality traffic and generates customer enquiries that ultimately convert to sales.
To sum it, SEM works through paid tactics. SEO works through non-paid tactics.
There’s also a whole other animal called SMM (Social Media Marketing) that needs to be addressed also. Like SEO, SMM is natural. It is engaging your audience in social networking sites such as facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc. and marketing that way. Once you’ve had a discussion with them and proven you know your stuff, they are more adpt to follow you, listen to you, and buy from you. More on that in a future post…