Tag Archives: SEM

The Difference Between SEO And SEM

Unless you’ve been off the grid, you’ve seen the acronym SEO a lot in the past five years or so. It stands for Search Engine Optimization and by definition, it means “making your website as friendly as possible to search engines.” You see, search engines – and by search engines I mean Google, the only search engine that matters – have very specific, very dynamic sets of criteria by which they judge the worthiness of each site they come across (through a process called “indexing”). It’s a full-time job to keep up with these criteria, and so an entire industry grew up to address it: SEO.

More recently, we’ve seen a focus on a slightly different acronym, SEM.

That one stands for Search Engine Marketing. It shares a lot of characteristics with SEO, but also blends in the paid aspects of search, such as advertising, marketing and branding.

Think of it this way: Imagine you are alone on a deserted island. You have two choices. You can prepare wood to build a fire so that rescuers can find you (that’s SEO). Or, you can use that wood to build a boat so that you can go out and find the rescuers (that’s SEM).

Here at {code} Roadies, we’ve never been fans of waiting around. Maybe it’s our video game-shortened attention spans. Maybe it’s old-fashioned impatience. Either way, if there’s an opportunity to do something (rather than wish for something), we usually take it. That puts us squarely in the SEM camp, obviously.

Here are some of the actions that we take when we help clients with SEM:

  • Website development and management  First things first. Your website needs to check all of the boxes that search engines look for. Then, when those fussy search engines change their mind like an eighth grader getting ready for the big dance, we make changes to your site so that it keeps up.
  • Content creation – You’ve heard me say it a million times: search engines love new content. It’s one of the easiest ways for them to tell if you’ve taken the old “set it and forget it” approach that results in a news page that never gets updated or constructed a living, breathing website that treats users with respect.
  • Online marketing – Google will tell you that using AdWords doesn’t impact organic search. However, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that traffic is one of the biggest metrics that any search engine uses to determine popularity. So buying ads that send people to your website must impact search position, right Google? (Google smiles and winks silently.)
  • Social media management – There’s a reason that Zuckerberg wears hoodies made from unicorn hair and bought all the mansions near his mansion because his mansion was feeling a little claustrophobic. They make money by the truckload from advertisers who use Facebook and Instagram to send people to their websites. And directed traffic (like that from social media ads or Google AdWords) usually means qualified customers, which means longer site visits, which also helps search engines to decide how effective your page is.

In other words:

SEM is a long-term strategy that takes effort and expertise.

It pays to be be diligent, and it pays to get help. Give us a call here at {code} Roadies, and let’s start building that boat together.