by: Aaron Abbott on
To make sure we're all on the same page, here are a few basic search engine marketing definitions. Search engine marketing (SEM) is an umbrella term that covers all activities related to marketing companies and their websites via search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy under the SEM umbrella that pertains to making changes to a website -- optimizing it -- so it'll rank high in the main, organic (also known as natural, editorial, or algorithmic) results in the search engines. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the method of getting websites listed in the "sponsored listings" in the search engine results (down the right side of the page -- also sometimes the first few listings at the very top). These are also known as "paid listings." Many people mistakenly use the term "SEM" or "search marketing" when they mean "PPC" or "paid listings." So I'm trying to clarify the correct terminology. Too basic for you? Don't worry -- I'll be ramping up with more advanced topics as well, but want to make sure we're all starting from the same place.