Do You Know the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

I've had a lot of inquiries lately from people asking if I will help them with their site SEO. As a practical matter, mine is not an SEO company.

But all the inquiries make me realize that a lot of people may not really know what the difference is between an online marketing agency (what we do) and an SEO company.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a very specific skill focused around improving the rank of your site in the search engines. Using techniques like link building, landing pages and website tweaks, SEO companies specialize in providing search engines with the info they need to find you relevant for your specific search terms.

SEM, known as Search Engine Marketing, focuses around using ADVERTISING means to help your site be visible in search engines. These techniques include search advertising, banner ads and other PAID methods to help your site appear when potential visitors are looking for sites that are in the same area.

Online marketing agencies like mine focus on SEM and Social marketing programs. SEO is fantastic.

It's a tough and tedious job and while there are many that claim to do it, very few do a really great job of it. It's a very specific skill.

If what you want is SEO, I encourage you to find an SEO company that does just that and only that. Companies like mine know a lot about SEO, b/c we have to. But the specific skills and more importantly the manpower you need to truly harness SEO takes resources we cannot dedicate. Where they specialize in algorithmic changes in Google, we focus on building presence in Google+ with social and using supporting SEM techniques alongside that.

While your electrician or plumber might know a lot about construction, you probably wouldn't ask them to build you a house. Nor should you be leaning on people with a 'rough knowledge' of SEO to take on an SEO campaign. SEO is time consuming and expensive, and if you are investing in it, you should use the people who can give you the most bang for your buck.

If you have any other question on the topic, please ask. And if you specialize in SEO, please connect with me. I'm always looking for great companies in this area to refer people to.