Statistics indicate that businesses who own a website, stand to grow as much as 200% faster than those who don't. However, in the same breath, if no one can see your website, then that statistics doesn't matter. You will fail to achieve growth. One of the ways one can get traffic to their website is the utilization of Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Marketing. In this post, we break down the main difference between the two for dummies and for beginners.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Said in simple terms for dummies and for beginners, search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of altering onsite and offsite factors to increase a site's visibility in the search engine for relevant searches. The greater your visibility in the search engine, the more visits your site will receive which subsequently leads to an increase in profits and/or brand awareness. Search engines like Bing and Google use bots that crawl the web to collect information from sites that it uses to put in an index. Once that has occurred algorithms evaluate websites in an index and analyze hundreds of onsite and offsite factors to determine relevancy and subsequently visibility for a given search term.
As to what those offsite and onsite factors are, they can be best described as being indicators or aspects of user experience. For instance, content quality, keyword relevance, incoming and outgoing links and mobile friendliness are all factors that search engine analyzes which also have an impact on user experience. If the search engine determines that these factors are high quality, it will place said webpage higher up in the search ranking. Alternatively, if search engines determine that these factors are of a low quality, it will derank said webpage/site. The importance of search engine optimization cannot be overstated in a world where everyone searches for the products and services they need online.
SEO Marketing Vs Search Engine Optimization
The main thing to remember is that while SEO optimization consists of focusing on the optimization of a site to get organic traffic from search results, the primary goal of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is to get traffic, both from paid and organic searches. Said in another way, Bing and Google's search results are divided into two categories: organic results and paid results. Meaning, whenever you search for something on a search engine, it lists paid search results (ads) before it lists results from site owners who did not pay to get their site to appear in the search results. The goal of SEO is to get your website listed in the organic result section. While SEM consists of utilizing both search results and paid results to maximize the amount of traffic a site receives from a search engine.
The main features of SEO optimization consist of optimizing on page factors such as your main keyword, meta description and content quality to improve your rankings. It also consists of optimizing offsite factors such as how often your site is shared on social media and how many high quality backlinks you have pointing back to your site. Another main feature of SEO is the way in which your users interact with your site. Known as user interaction signals, search engine experts will work to reduce bad user interaction signals such as a high bounce rate. SEM on the other hand, consists of optimizing all the aforementioned features of SEO optimization. But, it goes above and beyond to include paid ads (PPC) in the search results, which has its own distinctive sets of features that need optimizing to ensure success.
What Is Organic Search?
When someone uses the term organic search results, they are referring to unpaid results which appear within the search results for a given search engine. When someone visits a website through a search engine who did not pay to get their site listed, this is called organic traffic. For instance, if you type the term "nike shoes" within Google's search engine, you will be provided with results, some of which will have an "ad label" to clearly demonstrate that it is an ad. That is a paid results. All other results on that page without the ad label is an organic search result. In general, most business owners would agree that organic traffic, is one of the best ways companies can gain long term success. While it may be true that an organic search strategy can take months and even years, it can lead to a greater amount of revenue and leads because by driving organic traffic to your site, you are able to provide content in a non-disruptive way.