When you read about terms like “search engine marketing” (SEM) or “search engine optimization” (SEO), understanding the terms and using the strategies associated with them can seem like a daunting task in itself. SEM can be a broader form of SEO or it can ignore SEO altogether. To get an idea of what this is all about, we have to start with the term “Internet marketing” and work from there.
Internet marketing encompasses everything in the following list and more:
- Email marketing
- Social media optimization
- Affiliate marketing
- Search engine marketing
- Search engine optimization
Optimization does not necessarily coincide with marketing and that’s why it’s considered a separate entity. You’ll understand as I focus on number 4 in the list.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing encompasses everything in the following list and more:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Affiliate advertising
- Pay per action (PPA) advertising
- Pay per click (PPC) advertising
- Paid inclusion
- Search analytics
As you can see, I’ve included SEO within the SEM category as well as considering it separately in the Internet marketing category. The reason I’ve done so is to emphasize that an SEM strategy which incorporates SEO is the simplest, easiest way to accomplish your goal: To make money online. When you’re already making money from your efforts, you can reinvest your profits and use the other facets of SEM to further your online income.
I’m writing from experience because I’ve been doing it, sometimes unconsciously, for about three years. Once I learned what SEO was (which is on-page, on-site and off-site optimizations techniques), SEM became much easier to comprehend and execute.
Again, the first step is SEO. Once you’ve mastered SEO, SEM can come to you naturally. SEO is like this:
- Keywords in HTML (or document) title
- Keywords in post/article title
- Keywords in post/article content
- Interlinking between posts/articles with keyword links
- Obtaining anchored backlinks from external sources.
SEM emphasizes what people are searching for. Using various keyword tools, you find out what specific subjects (niches) people are interested in. The Google AdWords keyword tool is an excellent first stop – you need to have an account in order to get the most effective use out of it. Don’t worry, you don’t have to purchase AdWords in order to use the tool.
The next step is to search for various keywords in the Google search engine. This is how you can see what your up-to-the-minute competition will look like. Until you have a keyword list and an idea of the competition, you can’t manage your SEM efforts effectively.
Again, this is the easiest, simplest form of SEM. If you focus on the right niche, you won’t have to worry too much about anything other than SEO.
I based all of the above on my own experience and observations. If you want more details, please visit the “What Is SEM / Search Engine Marketing?” article at search engine land.
If you’ve noticed, I’ve left “social” anything out of the picture. The reason is because, other than backlinks obtained through social sites and social interactions, it’s more work than what it’s worth. Again, I base this on experience. When I write an article, I get social traffic for a couple of days and my advertising click-through rate plummets. Once the social traffic subsides, the click through rate increases through the SEM aspect. Since I rely on SEM for my website traffic, I can ignore everything for days at a time and still get better website traffic than people who focus on social marketing every single day.
If you think I’ve made a glaring omission, please let me know.