Do you know the difference between SEO and SEM?
SEO – Search Engine Optimization SEM – Search Engine Management
This post came about in response to client questions on the subject of SEO or search engine optimization. Optimizing a website really consists of two separate parts, SEO and SEM.
Part One – SEO is something we do on the website itself using specific keyword phrases, categories, tags and images. On site, all of these components are strategically connected and work together towards a specific goal.
Part Two – SEM or Search Engine Management is something that is done off-site via numerous tactics including webmaster tools that work to effect a websites position within the index as well as complement and showcase the on site SEO work. SEM is most effective when deployed as part of ongoing search marketing strategy.
Both SEO and SEM follow a unified search marketing strategy.
SEO Case Study
You’ve just launched a brand new website. It was professionally built by a web designer or web developer, and has been filled to the brim with the very best content there is. When done professionally, a website may consist of five pages all coded and content optimized for search engine rankings – sending out a strong, consistent signal. This signal should be loud & proud – much like the lovely deep red colour of the popular beverage above.
These pages work together in unison to broadcast the strongest signal possible.
As soon as a lay person or the business owner themselves take over writing blogs or updating the website, things can all too quickly start to go sideways. Let’s say the owner wants to write a blog post about their latest product. Sounds harmless enough – so they write-up two hundred words on the subject and publish their post.
As it stands right now, the website consists of five pages, all of which work together seamlessly – sending out a perfect ten on the signal strength scale. Once that sixth page is published we find it it isn’t directly connected to any of the other pages content nor does it follow the basic rules of using categories and like-minded tags. As far as Google sees the website now, instead of ranking at a strength of 10 (Hail Caesar!), with this weaker page/post, it now downgrades the website to a nine on the overall quality score.
Adding new pages, posts or content without proper connective optimization, can dilute the overall ranking of a website.
Our objective, at all times, with SEO is to continually broadcast as strong a signal as possible – every day, every week and every month. On the summer beverage scale, we’re talking a bright red caesar cocktail – a beautiful, blood-red signal that is pretty damn hard to miss. As soon as you add a new page, unless it follows our SEO strategy, it dilutes the colour, making the overall performance and signal weaker.
Often, we find the business owner really gets into blogging and starts adding more posts and even changes some content on a few pages while they’re at it. Before you know it our original blood-red caesar is now watered down to a weak (although tasty) white zinfandel – not exactly ideal from an optimization standpoint.
In this example, the owner has unwittingly undone a good portion of the SEO foundation laid out by the web designer.
A better option is to have an SEO expert proof your posts so as to maintain the outbound signal strength. Typically this doesn’t take long to do but the effect will adhere to the overall SEO strategy and help amplify the outbound signal. SEO is absolutely something that should be taken very seriously and included in your monthly inbound marketing strategy.
Something is better than nothing though right? Can you really do more harm than good? Yes, essentially you can and even more so if you overdo things. You need to have a good understanding of the available tools and truth be told, the ever changing rules of the SEO game. Time is everything is business and for this reason, I highly recommend outsourcing this one.
SEM – Search Engine Management
A big point no-one ever seems to talk about is the simple fact that only about 50% of SEO is ever done On-Site – even at the best of times and even by the pro’s. You can literally do all the on site optimization you can think of, tag away, optimize, pick the best search phrases for your market you can and at best, you may still only rank at number 14 or 15 on page two of Google.
When was the last time you looked at Page 2 results on Google?
Part 2 of this SEO topic (September) will include an in-depth look at off site strategies and even some tactics you can put into play today. Some of these topics will include citations, quality backlinks, directories, social media, blogging, permalinks, internal links, rss, crawl errors, sitemaps, site performance, will SSL certs rank you higher and more…
Thank you for taking the time to read my post on search engine optimization – I appreciate it!
MAC5 is a Web Design and Strategic Marketing company that helps businesses target, connect, and engage more with their customers. Our goal is to help build lasting relationships that will flourish and grow over time. We also provide business support services including social media marketing, blogging, web design and IT support, regardless of platform.
Our initial consultation is always FREE, and the straightforward advice you receive could save you both time and money.