A compelling digital strategy aligns customer experiences, business execution, and the right technology as the market and your competition constantly evolve. Our Digital Essentials highlight the most compelling aspects of all three to help you react and respond to this ongoing evolution.
For those who don’t work directly in the online marketing industry, many of the acronyms that are commonly used can get confusing when you don’t fully understand what each one means. I’m here to help you differentiate between them and prevent you from making common mistakes.
PPC: Pay Per Click
This term refers to the marketing practice of buying ad space on search engines and other websites to increase brand awareness or traffic to your site. The advertiser only pays when someone clicks through the ad to the website, hence the name. This is also referred to as paid search marketing. By utilizing PPC ads, marketers can gain more visibility and traffic for searches they don’t show up for naturally (in the main ten listings the search engine provides). They can also try to prevent clicks going to competitor websites by taking up more of the valuable real estate above the fold and attracting the users’ attention more effectively.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
This refers to the practice of optimizing a website so that it’s easier for search engines to find and understand, and therefore list in organic search results (which are the main ten listings in search results that are not paid for). Optimizations can be related to pretty much anything on the site: on-site copy, links, HTML coding, and more. In this practice, the goal is to ensure search engines understand your website well enough to know what it’s about and rank it for relevant searches as often as possible so that you don’t have to spend as much money in other digital marketing mediums to get traffic.
SEM: Search Engine Marketing
This term is used to refer to both PPC and SEO practices. It’s the all-encompassing category of digital marketing strategies used to gain more traffic and visibility through search engines.