SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the use of specific methods of making alterations to a website which enables it to become more accessible to Search Engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo – the end goal being to increase and accelerate the website’s visibility in search engine ranking pages (SERPS).
For example, the use of alt tags on images is an actual method used in Search Engine Optimization. Among SEO communities, a variety of methods are used: some are legitimate forms of optimizing web pages on site and off site, while others are strictly prohibited by search engines.
The use of search engine-prohibited SEO methods often lead to a domain wide ban.
- The use of technical alterations to web pages which help the website gain search engine ranking positions of high visibility.
- Off site and on site optimization is frequently used, with legitimate and strictly prohibited practices of optimization.
- Technical, link building and keyword-focused, as in the early stages of search engine development in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
- The term has been expanded and fundamentally redefined to include many more factors. For example, bounce rates and compelling web page design are new elements in SEO. Additionally, search engine developments have reduced channels available for optimization due to growing restrictions (b), censorship and preferential search results.
- Site wide bans are common for trespassers of search engine rules, which are established by large corporations and governments.
SEM or Search Engine Marketing, another aspect of website ownership, although similarly directed toward making a website become more accessible to Search Engines, refers to the use of social media like Twitter and Facebook to build and increase brand awareness as it confers to overall search engine ranking visibility.
Search engine marketing may also refer to a method known as content marketing, which includes the use of infographics. This newly applied term to traditional marketing, such as print advertisements and advertorials, refers to the use of content as the basis of promoting a website on the web, instead of using link building methods and optimization of web pages.
While the latter term, search engine marketing, is relatively recent – it can at times be used to merely refer to marketing on the web, which requires the use of breaking technologies to communicate and build brand awareness.
For example, a SEM marketer may utilize the popularity of free Apple apps to create an incentive for gamers to like and share a fan page of a particular brand.
The use of a tablet-friendly interface along with in-game incentives enable the app’s accessibility and fun to propel the brand’s growth on the web, since social websites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and others do convey important metrics to search engines, eventually assisting the brand in attaining a broader reach in search engines.
- The use of social media tweets, likes, shares and other means instead of traditional marketing channels like print and newspaper ads.
- Often engages in breaking technology.
- Indicates a transition in internet users and business owners with regard to the approach of natural speech and cognition search engines – “Whilst previous generations knew to phrase their searches to suit ‘machine language’, more users now expect to ask questions of their computer as they would a human[…]”
SEO’s importance on the internet may change in time as search engines advance. The emergence of the term SEM suggests a growing understanding among internet users, especially business owners, of how to widely market a website on the internet, while expecting many more culture and technology changes in search.