The world of SEO is so full of abbreviations and acronyms that it can sometimes feel a little like communicating in code. From LSI to SEO, SEM and SERPs it’s like alphabet soup after it’s been through the blender.

Throughout this blog we hope to unravel the soup (if that’s not too messy an image) and provide real, down to earth explanations of what all these acronyms stand for.

Let’s get started straight away with the difference between SEO and SEM. Firstly, what do they stand for? SEO is Search Engine Optimisation, whereas SEM is Search Engine Marketing.  So essentially both acronyms are to do with the search engines, but what’s the difference between optimisation and marketing?

The easiest way to think of it as by considering the difference between trying to sell an article to a newspaper, and placing an advert in that newspaper. If you’re trying to sell an article then after a great deal of research you’ll try to create content which appeals to the editor, which is relevant to the newspaper’s general focus and audience, and which is more likely to be accepted.

Clearly an easier way of getting your name or business in the paper is to pay for an advertisement, since it’s pretty much guaranteed. Both methods will work, though the first one is free, and the second one will cost you. The first is also more likely to generate more interest and be considered a more creditable appearance, since almost anyone can pay for an advert, and its value is much less.

The search engine results often contains sponsored listings, and these are the ones that have been paid for – often costing quite large sums of money. If you’re prepared to pay enough you can virtually guarantee your advert will be seen. This is Search Engine Marketing. But to achieve long lasting visibility that’s free, Search Engine Optimisation is all about crediting great quality content that the search engines approve of and publish high up their results lists.

But don’t assume that SEM is therefore of less value. It’s a fantastic way to kick start your campaign, and get the ball rolling and the traffic coming during the period of time you’ll need to start getting your SEO tactics to kick in.

If you have come across an acronym or term within the world of SEO you’d like us to cover for you, why not leave a comment?