What Is Search Marketing?

Search marketing is the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid efforts. It encompasses:

  • SEO: Earning traffic through unpaid or free listings
  • SEM: Buying traffic through paid search listings

Originally called “search engine marketing,” the shorter phrase “search marketing” is now often used as the umbrella term over SEO and SEM. The longer phrase “search engine marketing” — or SEM — is now typically used to describe paid search activities.

Yes, we know that can be confusing — but that’s how things have evolved. Our article, Does SEM = SEO + CPC Still Add Up?, explains the evolution in more depth.

For those who want to learn more about either SEO or SEM, see our guides below:

For more about the broader medium of search marketing, read on!

Search Marketing Advice At Search Engine Land

Here at Search Engine Land, we provide search marketing advice and information in a variety of ways:

How To: SEM is our section devoted to practical tips and tactics about search marketing in general.

Search Engine Land Columns are where we publish a number of regular columns on various aspects of search marketing, including:

SEM Library Archives is an area of Search Engine Land that provides a collection of all stories we’ve written on the topic of SEM. We also have subcategories, including:

SEM Tools is another area of Search Engine Land with a collection of stories we’ve written about search marketing tools. It includes these subtopics:

SEM Industry is a section of Search Engine Land that focuses not on search marketing advice but rather the search marketing industry (which even has an industry group, SEMPO). Within our SEM Industry section are these subsections:

Remember, those with Search Engine Land memberships also have access to a wide-range of video content about SEM recorded at our SMX: Search Marketing Expo conferences. Our Search Marketing Now webinar site also has SEM presentations available on demand, to anyone, for free.

Search Marketing Resources

There are a number of blogs and forums that focus heavily on search marketing topics, including: aimClear, Bruce Clay Blog, David Naylor, Marketing Pilgrim, Michael Gray, Nine By Blue, Outspoken Media, Search Cowboys, Search Insider, Search Engine Guide, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Search Engine People, Search Engine Watch, Search Marketing Gurus, SEM Club House, SEOmoz, SEO Book, TopRank, WebProNews and WebmasterWorld. Need more? Really? OK, visit TopRank’s “Big List” of online marketing blogs.

Those seeking easy-to-scan compilations of search marketing news from across the web should check out Alltop, SEOmash and Search Brains. For compilations of the best articles in search marketing in a given year, visit The Semmys. Over at Search Engine Roundtable, you’ll find a regular compilation of important discussions happening on a variety of search marketing forums.

Most of all, consider taking our free SearchCap newsletter! SearchCap provides a recap of all the day’s search-related news from sources all over the web, as well as the day’s news from Search Engine Land and from Search Engine Land’s related social news site, Sphinn.


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