Search Engine Marketing (SEM) vs. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Knowing the difference between search engine marketing (SEM)
and search engine optimization (SEO) can save you thousands of dollars
and help you avoid scams. These terms are frequently confused
because there are similarities between them. Both services will
typically include submission of your website to the major search
engines. They also frequently include submission of your site to Bing,
Google, and Yahoo maps. Armed with this information, you will be able to
weed out many of the companies that are merely trying to scam you.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing is typically a pay-per-click campaign such as
Google AdWords. Pay-per-click is an advertisement listed in the
"Sponsored Sites" on Bing, "Sponsored Links" on Google, or "Sponsored
Results" on Yahoo. Pay-per-click advertisements can also appear on other
websites such as this one, refer to the "Ads by Google" on the left side
of this page. With pay-per-click you only pay when someone clicks on
your sponsored listing.
A benefit of this type of Internet advertising is that you can get
quick results. Typically, your listing will show up on the search result
pages within one day. Another benefit is that you do not have to give
any access to your website to SEM companies. However, a good search
engine marketer will need access to install analytic software and to
fine tune the pages so they improve the ranking of your paid listings.
The down side is the cost. Pricing for a pay-per-click advertising
campaign varies by the competition for the keywords and the geographical
target you select that are used to display your advertisement. For
instance a Google AdWords campaign for the keywords "Carpet Cleaning
Phoenix AZ" will cost about $12 per click. The monthly cost could exceed
$3,000 making search engine marketing a large monthly expense.
Most importantly pay-per-click is only useful if you are not ranked well
in the "organic" search results.
Search Engine Optimization
The goal of the search engines is to display the websites that most
closely match the search terms that were entered. Search engine
optimization is correcting your existing website so that it will rank
well in "organic" search results with terms that people would use to
find your website. Organic search results are listed right after the
paid sponsored results. The way the different search engines decide who
will be ranked number one is based on algorithms they developed. These
algorithms are kept "Top Secret" and they are changed periodically.
These listing can not be purchased they are displayed based on the
content and the back links to your web page.
Most people do not go past page three of the search results so
utilizing a SEO company is very beneficial. If you can get your website
ranked on the first page of the search results, you will have the same
benefits of a pay-per-click campaign without having to pay for each
click. This can save you a lot of money. For example, carpet cleaning
companies in the Phoenix, Arizona area can pay as much as $3,000 per
month for search engine marketing pay-per-click campaigns. The price for
search engine optimization varies from website to website but it is less
expensive than SEM. Some types of code errors on the pages can
significantly increase the amount of time it takes to fix the site and
occasionally a redesign of the site will be needed but in general there
will be a onetime charge for initial optimization that will typically
range from $300 to $1500. Legitimate SEO companies will be more than
happy to outline in writing what they can do for you and commit to a
fixed price before they start.
The down side to search engine optimization is that it can be a long
drawn out process. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several
months before the search engines even know your website exists. SEO
companies will require access to your website so they can edit your web
pages. Also on going SEO maintenance, while not required, is highly
recommended. It can take several adjustments of your web pages to
achieve a high ranking and you are competing with other companies that
are trying to out do your website rankings. Monthly SEO maintenance can
range anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on the amount of service you
will require. However, in the long run optimizing your website
for the search engines is extremely cost effective.
Please refer to our
optimization page for information about what is
required to achieve good organic search engine rankings.
Things to Watch Out For
There many so called SEM and SEO companies will guarantee you they
will get you ranked number one on Google and use all sorts of high
pressure tactics to trick uneducated website owners into needlessly
spending thousands of dollars. They are full off it! There is no way to
guarantee a number one position on any of the search engines for any
amount of money. The best way to ensure a high ranking in order of
importance is to have good quality content, a popular website, and one
that is free of code errors. Any good web developer or SEO company will
A key thing to watch for when you are contacted by an SEM or SEO
company via email is the domain name portion of their email address. If
the domain name is a generic account such as @gmail.com, @yahoo.com,
etc... then it is a safe bet they are merely trying to swindle you. A
legitimate SEO company will use their own domain in the email address
i.e. @seocomany.com, @mcgelec.com, etc.. The reason that the scammers use
generic email accounts is that they do not want you to know who they
numerous other factors that help with website ranking and
McGrath Electronics, Inc. can assist you with them.
Please see our
SEO Services page for details and pricing.