SEO is not the same as SEM

I make a point of talking to all my prospective clients about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at a very early point in the proposal stage of any project. I try to explain what SEO is and why it’s important to address from the get-go, that it’s not something you want to “bolt-on” later. Discussions about SEO often go one of two ways:

  1. Eyes glaze over and I’ve strayed too far into “techie talk”
  2. Eyes get narrow and tempers start to rise because they’ve previously been promised the earth by an unscrupulous SEO “expert”

The other reaction I get is “Oh – we tried pay-per-click ads and they didn’t work”. This leads into another potentially confusing conversation where I’m left trying to explain the difference between SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing).

Here’s an infographic I put together that explains the differences between SEO and SEM – I hope you find it useful. (For the purposes of this infographic I’ve equated SEM with pay-per-click advertising – that’s not 100% correct as SEM encompasses other tactics like banner ads, but for most small business clients PPC is what they’re interested in).

seo is not sem infographic

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