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SEO vs. SEM: Understanding the Differences

7 May, 2014 By: Corey Smith, Dealer Marketing Systems

Many dealers are curious about the difference between Search Engine Optimizaiton (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). 

SEO - Search Engine Optimization:

SEO is the process of getting key terms for your web presence to the top of the natural (not paid) results in the search engines. Usually, we use the term in conjunction with Google searches but it applies to any search engine. SEO is a big job; there are more than 75 factors that go into just ranking your local page in Google alone.

There are many key tactics that go into getting higher in the search engines. It can be broken down into three key categories:

Code: The way your website is built on the back end. How the title is written or the organization of the page content in the coding section.

Content: The more content people can read, the greater your likelihood of getting higher in the search engines.

Links: Inbound links act as a vote to the authority of your website. The more links, the better.

Just remember, SEO has to do with the natural listings. When you see the paid placements in search results, that is not SEO.

SEM - Search Engine Marketing:

The purpose of SEM is to gain overall improved visibility in the search engines whether it be through paid or non-paid locations. That could mean using SEO to get to the top of the natural listings or pay for an ad on the search engine results page (SERP).

All the major search engines provide you with the ability to buy a key word as an advertisement. When you conduct a search, the search engines will return to you a list of all those that are paid first then those that naturally appear at the top of the search engines through SEO.

Any listing on the SERP is through SEM but only the organic or natural listings are from SEO (or they just got lucky).

Read Dealer Marketing's "Corey's Blog" at:  http://www.dealermarketing.net/blog/seo-vs-sem-understanding-differences


About the Author: Corey Smith

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