What is Search Engine Marketing Really?
Defining a Great Set of Initiatives.
The words "search engine marketing" or just "search marketing" are often the cause of great confusion for many
budding internet business entrepreneurs when it comes to understanding exactly what they mean...
What is search engine marketing?
Confusion arises because it's often defined differently... but the differences are so subtle!
You'll read one resource that defines "search engine marketing" one way, and another that does so slightly
But, that small difference in definitions is usually centered around it's scope... where it begins and where it
ends, and what's included in the description.
So what is search engine marketing exactly?
I can only give you my own definition...
The one that makes the most sense to me, and the one that I think will help you the most in understanding what
it actually means.
First off, let me just say that in my opinion "search engine marketing" is often given a very "relaxed"
definition by many, when it should certainly have a very particular meaning...
Search Engine Marketing Defined...
Search engine marketing (SEM) is the complete set of marketing and promotional initiatives actively pursued by
publishers to increase a website's visibility, presence, exposure, evidence, rank, or appearance in search engine
results pages (SERP's).
It's all intended to increase the amount of incoming traffic from search engines, and the reasoning behind it
all is quite simple...
In the search engines, you want presence first... you want your websites to be in their index and shown in their
Then, you'd want exposure and visibility... that your website is actually exposed enough for searchers to
evidence it within the SERP's.
And ideally, you want a "productive" rank within the search results to enjoy a comfortable amount of incoming
SEM is a "Whole Set" of Promotional Initiatives.
The words "search engine marketing" describe not one, but several processes involved in promoting websites in
the search engines...
So within that definition all of those processes are included.
Search engines provide several free and paid services (along with their respective guidelines for appropriate
use) that help publishers use in generating traffic effectively...
Surely your aware of the most popular pay-per-click and paid inclusion services provided by most search
engines... and perhaps, of the specialized search services they provide for their users such as image searches,
book searches, product searches, etc., etc.
They do so to give their users a more productive experience, but at the same time they give publishers and
internet entrepreneurs a great way to increase their reach on the web.
I include those as part of the "complete set" of initiatives in my own definition because they're all part of
what can be done via the services, tools, and products available in the search engines to increase a website's (or
part of it's content) presence in search results.
Search Engine Marketing "Actively Pursued".
"Actively pursued" means that the processes and activities undertaken with the intention of generating or
increasing traffic from search engines should always be part of an active marketing strategy...
SEM is something that's "actively pursued" as part of the routine and permanent processes involved in generating
or increasing traffic from the search engines specifically.
Search Engine Marketing is Not SEO...
SEM is often defined to be the same as Search Engine Optimization (SEO)...
While SEO does refer to the processes that focus strictly on improving a website's visibility in the search
engines' "natural" or "organic" results, the wider scope of search engine marketing (SEM) would have it include
other processes beyond those having to do with "natural" rankings...
Isn't paid search an important part of marketing and promoting a website in the search engines? So why not
include it as part of SEM?
SEO is indeed a vital part of search engine marketing... but, only a part nonetheless. SEM is more than SEO,
more than paid search.
That's the real story on what is search engine marketing!