Search Engine Marketing vs. Search Engine Optimization – What’s the Difference?

SEO vs. SEMWhat’s the difference, and why should you care?

You’ve heard the terms used interchangeably – “search engine marketing” and “search engine optimization”.  Are they the same? Most definitely not!

From your phone company to your newspaper to the guy down the street, they all seem to have a “quick, cheap SEO product” to sell you. They sound good…they throw terms at you like how you can “improve your organic search”, “get verifiable results”, “behavioral targeting”, and so on. They make you want to stop all other marketing and partner with them before you have time to take a breath. But do they really know what they are talking about?

The truth is that many programs offered by marketers are really “hybrid” search engine marketing programs. They may include a little bit of Ads, a little bit of social media, and maybe a banner ad or even a separate “website page” of your own somewhere on their corporate site.   Make no mistake about it – this is not a search engine optimization program!

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing is a term that represents a complete search engine marketing campaign. It can include Google or other search engine Ads campaigns, online banner ads, local and regional advertising, a full link development program, Amazon feeds, video, mobile, and social media program development.  A comprehensive SEM program is a valuable branding strategy that can help to bring your business to the next level.  Search engine optimization is a specific skill that also falls into this broader SEM spectrum.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Thorough search engine optimization is one of the most important steps you can take to get your business the online visibility it needs! It includes both on and off-site strategies, which entail reviewing and developing your site to include everything from a web-friendly design, clean code, and search engine friendly url’s, to strong and relevant content, appropriate keywords, optimized meta data, calls to action and strong link development it needs to emerge in the search engines.

In its infancy, search engine optimization was one of those vague “mystery specialties”. “SEO” was a phrase used primarily by the guy who helped you with your website… you didn’t really need to know much about it, as long as your site was up and running you were good to go.  Suddenly the importance and value of professional search engine optimization has skyrocketed along with the sophistication of all things web-related, not to mention Google’s algorithmic crusades to make search the best it can be.

The right SEO program can make the difference between a website that just sits there lookin’ pretty, and one that performs for you.  An internet marketing company like Mannix Marketing with a proven track record for website design, development and programming, skilled SEO and complete internet marketing services can provide your business with a custom tailored program to best meet your needs.  Get your free website consultation today!

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix founded Mannix in 1996 with a goal to get clients found on the web through organic search engine optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of 30 specialists, operating under the tagline "Success Measured." The tagline reflects the company's focus on measurable results for every client. This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, conversion rate optimization, SEO-friendly website design, paid advertising (PPC). Mannix Marketing has two divisions, one side is focused on lead generation for nationally competitive businesses. The other side is focused on local businesses. Mannix has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, (,,, and etc), reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions every month.