Exactly what is SEO and SEM, and why should I worry about them?
Think of your site as a retail store, as more people visit your store, your chance of making a sale increases. It makes sense then that you want as many people entering your store as possible, or does it? If you get people that are not interested in your products, coming into your store, you aren’t likely to make too many sales. However, if you are able to attract people that are interested in your products, your potential for selling to them is huge.
But how do you get that potential customer into your store and not your competitors? Well, that’s the million dollar question. Now if you owned a physical retail store, the factors in attracting the right kind of customer are many, factors such as location, reputation and shop fitting come into play. Do you have a franchise? Are you in a mall? Is your store visually appealing and appropriate to your product offering?
Owning a website isn’t that dissimilar. The primary difference being that you have a virtual presence as opposed to a physical one. Adjusting the parameters and factors to build your online credibility to attract more potential, and targeted, visitors is the arena that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are focussed on.
In short, SEO and SEM are more than the basic marketing you would do for a physical store to get business. Since you have a physical presence, by default you can be found by people passing by your store. On the net, however, there’s just no ways anyone can find you unless you actively work to get found.
Search Engine Optimization deals with actually making your site 'presentable' to the search engines whilst Search Engine Marketing deals with actively marketing your site using the major search engines marketing programs.
I'll be doing a series of articles on each of these to try and help you gain the most out of your SEO and SEM and avoid the common pitfalls that the average webmaster/business owner makes when trying to do this themselves.