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SEO and SEM Basics: A Q&A for Getting Started

by Eric Lebowitz

SEO and SEM graphic

 It's always nice to catch up with old friends, especially those who are setting their own path and making their mark on the business and marketing worlds. I recently had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed by an old friend, colleague and content marketer extraordinaire, Allison Boccamazzo, for her blog. For this Q&A, we spoke about some of the most important basics of SEO and SEM, and how to apply some these principles to your business.

Here is a sample of our conversation:

Q: What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?

A: Incredibly, there is not total agreement on this. Some people define the two terms separately, while others count SEO as a tactic that falls under the heading of SEM. Personally, I like to think of SEO as falling under the SEM umbrella.

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SEO refers to optimizing Web pages so that those pages appear higher in search engine rankings. It is typically broken down into two categories: on-page and off-page. On-page SEO includes elements like keyword optimization, mobile responsiveness, page load speed and meta tags. Off-page SEO, as the name indicates, is what search engines can tell about a website that happens elsewhere on the Internet. That includes factors like the number of quality backlinks to a site and the number of social bookmarks.

SEM includes any tactic used to drive people to a website via search engines, which includes SEO. But SEM also includes paid search channels—often referred to as pay-per-click (PPC)—like Google AdWords.

Q: What’s the difference between organic vs. paid results?

A: This question has some overlap with the first question. Organic search results are page rankings determined purely by a search engine’s algorithm. Paid results are advertisements that an organization can pay to have displayed prominently on a results page.

Q: What’s the difference between internal and inbound links?

A: This is a fairly simple concept. Internal links are links between pages within one domain. So for instance, a link on your “About Us” page to your “Products” page is an internal link. Inbound links are links that point to your domain from an outside Web domain.

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Topics: SEO and SEM, SEO, SEM, Keywords, affordable seo services