The Internet marketing world seemed to be such a simpler place 10 years ago.  Way back then, we really only needed to worry about focusing on keyword phrases, inbound linking, and optimizing the web site.  This was referred to as SEO: search engine optimization.  These days, the Internet is changing considerably at an exponential rate compared to years gone by.  This also includes how people use the Internet.  People have moved to online social websites to interact a various levels.  Social media has become a very powerful direct Internet marketing tool as well as a large ranking factor for organic search engine results.  With these new social media and off-site factors, Google takes into consideration several more things than just how optimized your website is.


Search engine marketing (SEM) is the  act of promoting websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results.  Some people have mistakenly used SEO and SEM interchangeably, or weren’t even sure what SEM was.  SEO is one of four primary parts of SEM.  This combines a number of practices utilized as one united force.

The primary aspects that make up SEM are as follows:

  1. SEO – Search Engine Optimization

  2. Social Media

  3. Content Marketing

  4. PPC – Pay-Per-Click (Google AdWords, affiliate advertising, anything paid)

To see whether your website traffic is from organic search, open Google Analytics and go to Acquisition > Overview. Here you’ll see a breakdown of how much of your traffic is coming from each of the seven key sources:

  • Organic search
    Direct Traffic (people getting to your site via a bookmark or by typing a URL directly)
    Referral (viewers who come from any site that links to your content)
    Social media
    Paid search
    Other (i.e., traffic that can’t be attributed to any of the above)

Even Matt Cutts from Google Webspam Team agrees:

“I firmly support the idea that people should have a diversified way of reaching their audience. So if you rely only on Google, that might not be as strong of an approach compared to having a wide variety of different avenues by which you can reach people and drive them to your website or whatever your objective is.”

SEO is a very important piece that enable SEM to work together as a united front showing Google in a very transparent way that you are the authority in your industry.  It takes all the above elements combined to run a successful SEM campaign to help increase your overall search engine visibility.