Many people are confused because there are two phrases in the Internet Marketing community working together and they are often used interchangeably.  They are SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing).

There is a big difference between SEO and SEM.  SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a broader term; it includes all the strategies for promoting your website on the search engines.  SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a method of getting a website ranked in the organic or natural search results.

There’s 3 types of SEM;

Organic SEO

This is a process of improving your website’s rankings naturally.  Some considers this as part science and part art. It prepares a web page to be found for certain keywords and key phrases.  Organic (natural) SEO uses keyword phrases prominently on the website page itself (body text, headings, links, etc). This is usually coupled with a link building strategy.

Local search

This also uses organic SEO methods mixed with state, zip codes and city.  These geo factors bring in searchers looking for local business.  This can include Google’s directory and profile listings as well as other local directories.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

This the advertising on Google and other search engines.  These advertisements come up based on the keyword query and they appear under the sponsored results.  You only pay for visitors that clicks through to your websites. This includes Yahoo!, Bing (Microsoft adCenter) and Google Adwords.

There are other types of Internet Marketing that can be used to promote your website and business with the search engines.

Social Media Marketing

SMM (social media marketing) includes blog marketing, Micro blogging (Twitter), social networking and more.  You can set up profiles on popular social networking (Web 2.0) sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. You can publish your own blog or participate in online discussions as an expert.

Article marketing

Write and publish educational articles and place them on article syndication websites.  Other website owners can publish them on their websites.  Links in the bottom resource box will lead interested people to your website.

To get the best results from your Internet marketing efforts, multiple SEM and SEO methods should be used.  Traffic strategies needs to be devised when a website is in the planning process. Search Engine Optimization works best when it is planned into the website structure rather than added later.