What would you call it, SEO or SEM? Today on Cre8asite forums there is an excellent thread where one of the members, Barry Welford, details an article he blogged on taking an overall aerial view of the SEM/SEO industry and where it might be headed. He questions what defines the industry as a whole? There has been discussion on this in the past, SEW in particular had a great thread last year about the history of SEM/SEO and why we call SEO...Search Engine Optimization? Do you know why? Generally since about that time or before then I have seen the adoption of "Search Marketing" as more of an accepted term to identify this group of marketers. I prefer these terms over SEO/SEM as it covers both, without having to explain what the acronyms mean to clients or friends.
One of the members Diane, who authored a very good blog entry on the existence of the SEO industry and the infamous nay-sayer Seth Godin who thinks there is none. Worth a good read here. She commented that the answer to this question is simple as defined by Webster:
a distinct group of productive or profit-making enterprises
The thread continues detailing the use of Search Engine Marketing or Search Engine Optimization today and how the term SEM has been adopted more and more by agencies and internet marketers. Barry W. goes on to make some grim predictions about the phrase "Search Engine Optimization" that it may eventually phase out of use in about 2-5 years time. I don't particularly agree with him, but I do understand where he is coming from. Using a better term for the industry such as one that contains the key term "marketing" will go further to strength the industry, where search engine optimization is contained below it as part of what you do in the industry. He says:
So I'm not saying bury the O. I'm saying trumpet the M, while continuing to milk the O.
:-) Nice quote.
They get into something called "sub optimization", but I will refrain from describing it as its a mathmatical term being applied to and paired with search engine optimization. The term means "Improving part of something may make the whole object less effective". Interesting, I guess as in a form of optimization making one part better, but loosing the effectiveness of the whole.
Finally one of the moderators jumps in and keeps the answer simple to the question in earnest:
As long as search engines exist, there will be a need for people to optimize sites for them.
Continue discussion the SEO Industry at Cre8asite Forums.