When you pick your phone and search something on Google, and your search results are displayed within a few seconds, do you notice that it has a lot to do with the words you put in the search? Yes, there is reason for that. Based on your keywords and personal search, search engines organize web pages to suit what is the most relevant for you.

Now imagine a way to make sure your website always comes out whenever someone searches anything related? Well this is the basis of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – affecting a website’s visibility so that it is more visible in search engine results in their unpaid for or natural environment.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a technique of internet marketing that seeks to promote a website by increasing the appearance and visibility of a website in the Results page of a Search Engine. It encompasses Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay per Click (PPC). SEM is a very effective marketing method that can easily put you out there for everyone that is indeed looking for you. ‘Pay per Click, is also called Cost per Click and it is model of internet advertising. In this model, an amount is paid every time an advert is clicked. The PPC is that amount of getting an advertisement clicked.

In a generation like ours, where everything is now in controlled by digits and algorithms, it is expedient that you master SEO and SEM to promote your business.

SEO as a marketing technique considers what people search for, the exact keywords people use in their search and the search engines most preferred by users. SEO also includes editing to match the exact keywords people use in their search. Other tactics involve HTML edit and adding a good number of back links.

In optimizing, techniques are broadly classified as either White hat or Back hat. White hat SEO techniques are those approved by the search engines and are not illegal, fraudulent or deceptive. They are based on making content for the reader, not the search engine. This means that the website that was ranked is the website that the reader would see upon opening.

The Black hat techniques are disapproved by the Search Engines and can even cause a site to be banned. It mostly involves trying to trick the search engines into ranking a site that does not contain relevant content. The site ranked might not be the site that would be seen on opening- known as cloaking. All this hat talk is making me feel like a cowboy –a white hat one please...

PPC as a method of SEM means payment is made to content sites to allow for advertisement. So when a search is made with a word on any advertiser’s list, it comes out as a sponsored ad, just below the organic results. The PPC can either be flat rate based; the advertiser and site owner agree on a fixed price or Bid rate based; the web owner and other advertisers agree to compete for an ad spot on the page. PPC has the advantage of monitoring effectiveness and returns of the advert. It is very efficient.

In going for SEM you must understand the ropes and know which method would pay your business more, either PPC or SEO. Make sure you have high quality web pages, and original and interesting content, edited to fit and as applicable, use PPC to boost your rankings

It is also advisable to complement SEM with other forms of marketing.