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What Are SEO and SEM?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and refers to how a website manages its content (with titles, tags, meta tags, and text) with the goal of being placed in top listings in Search Engines for specific search terms. The purpose of SEO is to help improve on a websites’ listings in the “organic” or “free listings” (meaning it does not cost any money to be listed and repositioned on these pages) of Search Engines such as Yahoo!, Bing, and Google.SEM is a term that can be commonly used alongside SEO and stands for Search Engine Marketing. SEM emerged in response to sites such as Google offering fees to be included or featured at the top of page listings and the appearance of Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. Paying for exposure has changed the basic methods of Internet marketing because instead of simply using SEO to generate high rankings, websites can now pay to be listed above the “free listings” on Search Engines, increasing traffic to their sites through money and not necessarily by just utilizing natural techniques.


Working a webpage for superior SEO involves being able to detect and evaluate the relevance of certain types of keywords and phrases that people use in Search Engines to find the types of products or services a business offers. This includes web content, tags, meta tags and the links within your page. It also involves manipulating HTML codes for your page to help rework your site navigation (how people are getting to and from your webpage) and to eliminate any problems that may stop your page from being indexed on major Search Engines.The best ways to achieve top listings on Search Engines is to follow their SEO guidelines and not to try to cheat the system. Many times companies promise to bring a website “to the number one spot on Google rankings in less than 3 weeks!” but use tricks that eventually get flagged. These types of “tricks” can include keyword stuffing (hiding or using keywords in unnatural and exaggerated amounts), link farms (sites which directly link to each other numbering into the hundreds), and page cloaking (showing two different webpages to visitors and to Search Engines). When these tricks are caught, which all eventually are, sites like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing will drop the abusive site in rankings, remove it completely from their listings, or banish the company forever.


The best bet for any business to achieve good rankings on Search Engines is to have content and links that practice exceptional SEO and that follow their guidelines for organic listings. You can do this by learning yourself or by hiring a professional writing services firm to do it for you. If you wish to market and expand your website in a more aggressive manner, then consider SEM, and look into investing in a PPC campaign to gain quicker exposure.