SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is a term that covers all tactics used to try to increase a site’s relevancy to a searcher’s query. In laymen’s terms, SEO is everything you do to try to get your site to show up when someone searchers for something related to your site. A trick to remembering the definition of SEO is to associate the “O” in SEO with “organic search.”
Technically, SEO is “free” because it deals with getting your site visibility in the organic (or natural) search results, which means that you don’t have to pay to get your site placed anywhere. However, doing SEO right is quite labor intensive, so it’s often quite expensive to have an agency or professional do it for you.
PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click and describes the practice of creating ads to lead searchers to your site and then bidding on keywords to have those ads appear for a searcher’s query. PPC ads can be either text ads or image ads. With PPC, advertisers can pay to place their site’s ads in the results that come up when someone does a search.
Google’s advertising platform (called AdWords) is more widely used than any other search advertising platform, causing PPC to sometimes be referred to as AdWords. Think about it like this, facial tissues are sometimes collectively called Kleenex even if they are a different brand. However, unlike tissues, where there is little variation between different types, there is definitely a difference between Google AdWords and other advertising platforms like Microsoft AdCenter. So don’t make this mistake and call all PPC “AdWords” because AdWords is PPC on Google specifically.
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. Now, it gets kind of confusing here because most of the time SEM is used as just a fancy way of saying PPC, but some people use it as an umbrella term over both SEO and PPC. This results from the fact that some people consider SEO to be a form of marketing, whereas others consider it to be a set of best practices. If you hear someone say SEM, clarify whether they are talking about just PPC or PPC and SEO so that there’s no confusion.
SoMe is a common acronym for social media, along with “SM” or “Soc Med.” That was easy, wasn’t it?! Some lesser known abbreviations include “Social,” “S-Med” and “S Media.” Social media encompasses popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and more that keep popping up every day.
If you run across any other abbreviations that you need help understanding, let us know! The digital marketing industry is always changing, which means we’re always learning, and we’d love to help you!
By Kate Pierce. Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!