SEM is an abbreviation for Search Engine Marketing. SEM is defined as the broad process that combines the activities of search engine optimization (SEO), paid inclusion and pay-per-click advertising (PPC) to optimize Web sites, in order to make them more search engine-friendly, thus enabling them to get higher positions in the search results of different search engines. Just like SEO, SEM also aims to increase the volume as well as the quality of internet traffic to a particular website from different search engines. The major difference between SEO and SEM is that former is a free service that optimizes net traffic to a website through search engines, by unpaid search. While SEM increases the popularity of any website in the search engines by paid inclusion.
The term “Search Engine Marketing” was coined by Danny Sullivan in 2001. SEM covers the entire spectrum of activities involved in doing SEO, managing paid listings at the search engines, submitting web sites to directories, and designing online marketing strategies. SEM is the fastest growing marketing channel among other internet marketing channels and even surpasses traditional marketing channels in terms of annual growth rate.
SEM is an important component of the Internet Marketing Strategy. Although SEO and SEM are different internet marketing services, they are used interchangeably by many marketers and website owners. The organization of SEM professionals i.e. Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization defines SEO to be a part of SEM. SEO is also included in the industry definitions of SEM by many top market research and analysis firms as well as major internet marketing consultants. Many firms and marketing experts find it difficult to understand the complex working of SEM. Therefore they prefer third party internet marketing agencies to manage their web marketing campaigns.