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Search Engine Marketing - 5 Key Components

Oct 26, 2007
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a general term that refers to all of the activity that you, or the company assisting you, might do to improve your online visibility. The most common area of this type of marketing is the practice of search engine optimization (SEO). However, there are also other important aspects to search engine marketing that you should know about if you are planning to really boost your web presence.

There are five basic components of SEM, starting with SEO and also including link building, pay-per-click programs, marketing of online articles and keyword usage.

Many people believe that keyword usage and search engine optimization are the same thing. However, that's not quite the case. Search engine optimization refers to making your site work in compliance with the current ranking algorithm standards of search engines. At the current time, a high portion of this algorithm is given to the use of keywords, which is why many people use the two terms interchangeably. The way that search engine's ranking algorithms work is a dynamic and ever-changing process. Keywords may or may not always be important but they are their own unique aspect of search engine marketing. What it boils down to is that you need to have the right keywords on your site so that the search engine knows what your site is all about.

Since anyone can add the right keywords on to a web page with a little bit of knowledge as to what those keywords are, ranking algorithms have changed to include other components as well. As such, search engine marketing has developed to encapsulate these other components. For example, it's not only important that you have the right content but also that other people on the web care enough about your content to link to it. Link building is an increasingly important part of SEM because it essentially shows the search engines that there are people out there interested in seeing what is on the site. Quality link building comes from getting your site linked to by a number of other sites that also have good SEM campaigns and therefore have high page rankings.

Link building and keywords are a part of SEO that is, in turn, a part of SEM. There are also aspects of SEM that aren't as directly related to SEO. One of these is pay-per-click programs (PPC) and other types of online advertising. Think of search engine marketing as all of the things that you do to get attention on the web. PPC is one method of online advertising, somewhat akin to taking out an ad in the local paper for a local business that you are operating. This doesn't necessarily boost the search engine optimization of your site but it is, nevertheless, an important part of your search engine marketing campaign. Similarly, you can use marketing of online articles to get attention to your site that is somewhat like advertising. This is a developing area of SEM because these articles may also be archived on the site to boost the site's visibility.

This all sounds a little bit complicated - SEO, SEM, links and PPCs. But when you look at it carefully, it's really fairly simple. You want to pay attention to five key components of search engine marketing to grow your online visibility. You want to build links to your site, a site that has the right keywords in its text and online articles, so that search engines know what you're all about. And you want to further promote your site through online advertising like PPC programs. You also want to keep an eye on SEO changes so that you can adapt your SEM plans over time to keep up with the changing web.
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