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What is SEO!

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, SEO means the process of improving your website to increase its visibility in Google, Microsoft Bing, and other search engines whenever people search for:

Products you sell.
Services you provide.
Information on topics in which you have deep expertise and/or experience.
The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to be found and clicked on. Ultimately, the goal of search engine optimization is to help attract website visitors who will become customers, clients or an audience that keeps coming back.

What you’ll learn in this guide:

How SEO differs from SEM and PPC
Why SEO is important
SEO types and specializations
How SEO works
How to learn SEO
How is SEO different from SEM and PPC?
SEM and PPC are two other common terms you will read about a lot here on Search Engine Land and hear about in the larger search marketing community.

Read on to learn more about both of these terms and how they’re related to SEO.

SEO vs. SEM
SEM stands for search engine marketing – or, as it is more commonly known, search marketing.

Search marketing is a type of digital marketing. It is an umbrella term for the combination of SEO and PPC activities meant to drive traffic via organic search and paid search.

Put simply, search marketing is the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid efforts.

So how do SEO and SEM differ? Technically they aren’t different – SEO is simply one-half of SEM:

SEO = driving organic traffic from search engines.
SEM = driving organic and paid traffic from search engines.
Now, this is where things get a bit confusing.

Today, many people use SEM interchangeably with PPC (which we’ll talk about in the next section).

This idea seems to undercut SEO. However, SEO is marketing, just like PPC is marketing.

Here’s the best way to think about SEO and SEM:

Imagine SEM is a coin. SEO is one side of that coin. PPC is on the flip side.