Search engine marketing, also referred to as SEM, is the act of marketing a web site via search engines.
A Search Engine Marketer uses Search Engine Marketing techniques to purposely improve rank in organic or natural listings, purchased paid listings or a combination of these and other search engine-related activities so that more visitors and potential buyers find a company’s website. When a potential buyer is looking to purchase (or is in the “research mode”) they often turn to search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to search. A Search Engine Marketer, using generally accepted Search Engine Marketing techniques, can increase the chances of a company’s website showing up in a search engine’s results when that potential buyer searches for a product that the company sells.
In the beginning, in the early 2000s, search engine optimization was called “search engine marketing”. In the past few years, after about 2010, search engine marketing began to be referred to as Paid Search or PPC. If you say you are doing search engine marketing, then you’re working with paid ads, and not SEO. SEO, search engine optimization, is organic, natural search, meaning that you’re manipulating a website, optimizing it, and doing link building (link earning) in order to get better natural search engine rankings. Search Engine Marketing doesn’t generally involve SEO, except for parts of SEO, like keyword search.