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Search Engine Marketing vs Search Engine Optimization

From: Bill Treloar

Jill —

In a recent newsletter, you said:

“As you know, the advertising side of search engine marketing isn’t really my forte, since I concentrate my efforts and knowledge on the optimization side of things.”

I do the same, but I’m sure you’re better at articulating “why.” I’d be very interested to learn about that. Good topic for the newsletter?



Jill’s Response To – Search Engine Marketing vs Search Engine Optimization
Hi Bill,

Yes, good topic!

Before I can explain my reasons for concentrating on the optimization side of things, I should probably discuss the differences between search engine marketing (SEM) as a whole, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and search engine optimization (SEO). So here’s my take on things…

SEM is the broad industry that encompasses all marketing that involves search engines including:

* buying and maintaining PPC ads,
* search engine submissions through paid-inclusion and trusted feeds, and
* traditional SEO work.

One piece of the puzzle that transcends all aspects of SEM is understanding how to choose the appropriate keyword phrases for your campaign. Whether you concentrate on SEO, PPC or trusted feeds, keywords are key. There are other aspects of SEO that use overlapping skills, but working with PPC ads and working on SEO can be two very different animals.

Buying and maintaining PPC ads is advertising. It’s very similar to advertising in a newspaper or a magazine. It doesn’t take much in the way of technical skills, but relies heavily on understanding target audiences, demographics, conversion rates and return on investment, along with having the appropriate ad-writing skills.

SEO is a bit more on the technical side. These days we do have to have a knowledge of target audiences and all that, but traditionally SEO involves understanding how search engines work, as well as having some knowledge of HTML coding and Web site design. You don’t necessarily need those skills to be good at PPC.

Most of the good SEOs out there today started out as site designers and/or programmers and have been doing SEO for many years now. Having learned things gradually over time, it seems easy to me so I’m happy doing things the way I’ve always done them. By concentrating only on SEO and not trying to figure out all the intricate details of PPC, I have the opportunity to learn every nuance there is to know about SEO and I still learn new things every day. It’s my feeling that if I tried to branch out to PPC also, I’d have to split my energy and my brain power which would probably make me less effective in my work overall. It’s already a lot of work to keep up with traditional SEO and to also master the art of running a business, managing clients and contractors, paying the bills and trying to keep some semblance of having a family life!

I guess the bottom line for me is that whatever I do these days I want to be the best at it and know everything there is to know about it. And I just don’t have the time or inclination to do that with the other aspects of SEM, so I leave it up to others. But ask me anything about SEO, and I betcha I’ll have an answer for you (or know how to find it).

Author Bio:
Jill Whalen of High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine marketing consultant and editor of the free weekly email newsletter, the High Rankings Advisor.

She specializes in search engine optimization, SEO consultations and seminars. Jill’s handbook, “The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines” teaches business owners how and where to place relevant keyword phrases on their Web sites so that they make sense to users and gain high rankings in the major search engines.