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SEM & SEO: I Can Tell that We Are Going to Be Friends

12. December 2016 09:10

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You've probably read about how important it is to make your business visible to search engines. (And maybe you read it here: "Why an Online Presence Can Make or Break Your Small Business.") But creating your website, maintaining social media accounts, and starting a blog are just the first steps.

To make sure your customers can find your business, you need to know a few things about SEM and SEO. Granted, these are advanced concepts, but it's good to have a basic understanding of how they work. Let's learn more.

What Is SEM? What Is SEO?

SEM is an acronym for search engine marketing. According to Min Lee, senior vice president of CertaPet (@CertaPet), the term originally referred to all efforts to promote a business online, including…

However, many people use the term SEM to only describe pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns.

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. It can be a component of SEM, according to Lee, but what you really need to know is SEO helps get your website to rank well on a search engine results page without paying for it. You might hear this described as "driving organic traffic" or "organic search."

Lee offers these examples of SEO strategies:

The takeaway: Lee says great marketing requires a well-rounded approach that includes SEM.

"Without knowing about SEM, a small-business owner would find it next to impossible to turn their small business into a medium business and ultimately a large business," he says.

Is SEM Marketing Right for Your Small Business?

Brad Shorr, director of content strategy for Straight North (@StraightNorth), says there are a few important things to know before jumping headfirst into SEM:

David Hernandez, founder and managing partner of lotus823 (@lotus823), says, "I typically find that for many small businesses, focusing on content development always wins." He encourages small-business owners to put their resources toward content and social media advertising until they are ready for a major SEM campaign.

The takeaway: SEM and SEO aren't easy, but as Shorr says, they "can work wonders for a company's revenue growth." The key is to start small and get help when you need it.

For some tips on SEO basics, read "3 Key Elements Every Small Business Website Should Have."

About the Contributors

David Hernandez

David Hernandez is the founder and managing partner of the New Jersey-based integrated marketing communications agency lotus823.






Min Lee

Min S. Lee is currently the SVP of business development for and He is passionate about animals and loves playing golf in his spare time. Min is a native of San Diego, California, and has a background in finance and investments.





Brad Shorr

Brad Shorr is director of content strategy at Straight North, an Internet marketing company specializing in search engine optimization and pay per click.







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