What is SEO?
SEO is the process of optimizing your web site for the purpose of getting free traffic from search engines. An optimized web site is more easily understood by Search engine crawlers, so there are more chances of ranking higher in SERPS.
On-Site and Off-site SEO
There are 2 main pillars of SEO, what is called on-site SEO and off-site SEO. On-Site SEO are rules you can apply on your web site or blog so that itâ€™s more search engine friendly. For example you need to use proper titles, good descriptions, well formatted URLs, correct use of H1, H2 and images and many more. You can read my version of the 15 on-site seo tips for beginners to get a good idea of how you can optimize your web site for search engines.
Off-site SEO refers to the process of getting votes from other web sites for the purpose of increasing your web siteâ€™s trust in the eyes of search engines. For beginners this may be confusing but try to think about it like a ranking system where the web site who has the most votes ranks higher. Votes in our case are links coming from other web sites to your site. That is also the reason why off-site SEO is referring to as link building.
To avoid any misunderstandings itâ€™s not only a matter of how many links you have pointing to your website but also from where these links are coming and a number of other factors I am not going to cover now.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine Marketing is over and above SEO but itâ€™s only a subset of your overall Internet Marketing Strategy. The diagram below shows the relationship between Internet Marketing, SEM and SEO. As you can see there are many more ways to increase your web siteâ€™s traffic besides SEM and SEO.
What is SEM?
So, SEM is the marketing process with a goal of getting more visibility in search engines either by getting more free traffic (SEO) or paid traffic (Paid search advertising).
Through paid search advertising you essentially buy advertising space in the search engine results. So instead of trying to rank higher and get free traffic you pay to appear in front of the searches.
The most well-known advertising agency for PSA is Google Adwords. Through Google adwords you can get your ads appear in the Google search results and you pay only for the clicks on your ads. This is also the reason why the whole process is called Pay-per-click or PPC. Bing and Yahoo have a similar system but it not so successful and widely known as Adwords.