These days, many people call themselves SEO experts. Most don't even know what SEO is, or the difference between SEO and SEM. All this gibberish is enough to make me want to EIEIO all the way home.
As an Internet Guru, one should know that SEO means Search Engine Optimization. This Internet Guru breaks SEO into two parts: onsite and offsite optimization. The onsite optimization is all the stuff we can directly control on your website and other online properties, while the offsite optimizations are something we strive to achieve, but have not direct control over the outcome of the efforts.
Onsite optimization is taking control of the content of the website to maximize its performance in the search engines.
The single most important item we can control is the domain name itself. While many businesses take their business name for their domain, shrewd small business uses a domain name that is catchy and includes the keywords of the services of products they offer.
As we build out the website, we want to make sure the page title are all unique, on topic, and lead the search engines to discover the true content intent for each page. No keyword stuffing, rather a clear guide to readers and spiders alike as to what can be expected on the page.
Each page should be well outlined, with sections and subsections that are keyword based. Look at this page to get a clear example of what I mean.
Offsite optimization includes all the tasks we do away from the website to build more links and traffic back to the website. Due to the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the network, the work in this area is less precise, which leads many to take a smoke and mirrors approach to making SEO complex. It is not. The rules are clear. Authority sites that are on topic and voted best should rise to the top.
SEM is the broad category that covers building links into your site for the search engine spiders to crawl, thus "marketing" your website to the search engines. This is often does via article marketing, blogging, press releases, video publications, etc. all of which are very effective techniques in generating quality back links.
The latest craze on the Internet is social media, or the likes of Facebook and Myspace, Linked in and eCollege, and any fraternal organization that has gone online to work with its constituency in cyberspace. Are you catching this wave yet?