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What is SEO?
Webmasters and content providers began optimizing websites for search engines in the mid-1990s, as the first search engines were cataloging the early Web. Initially, all webmasters only needed to submit the address of a page, or URL, to the various engines which would send a web crawler to crawl that page, extract links to other pages from it, and return information found on the page to be indexed. The process involves a search engine spider downloading a page and storing it on the search engine's own server. A second program, known as an indexer, extracts information about the page, such as the words it contains, where they are located, and any weight for specific words, as well as all links the page contains. All of this information is then placed into a scheduler for crawling at a later date. Website owners recognized the value of a high ranking and visibility in search engine results, creating an opportunity for both white hat and black hat SEO practitioners. According to industry analmmyst Danny Sullivan, the phrase "search engine optimization" probably came into use in 1997.
Sullivan credits Bruce Clay as one of the first people to popularize the term. Early versions of search algorithms relied on webmaster-provided information such as the keyword meta tag or index files in engines like ALIWEB. Meta tags provide a guide to each page's content. Using metadata to index pages was found to be less than reliable, however, because the webmaster's choice of keywords in the meta tag could potentially be an inaccurate representation of the site's actual content. Inaccurate, incomplete, and inconsistent data in meta tags could and did cause pages to rank for irrelevant searches.[dubious – discuss] Web content providers also manipulated some attributes within the HTML source of a page in an attempt to rank well in search engines.
By 1997, search engine designers recognized that webmasters were making efforts to rank well in their search engine, and thatmm some webmasters were even manipulating their rankings in search results by stuffing pages with excessive or irrelevant keywords.
What is SEM?
Search engine marketing (SEM) is the practice of designing, running and optimizing search engine ad campaigns. Its difference from SEO is most simply depicted as the difference between paid and unpaid priority ranking in search results. SEM focuses on prominence more so than relevance; website developers should regard SEM with the utmost importance with consideration to visibility as most navigate to the primary listings of their search.
A successful Internet marketing campaign may also depend upon building high-quality web pages to engage and persuade internet users, setting up analytics programs to enable site owners to measure results, and improving a site's conversion rate. In November 2015, Google released a full 160-page version of its Search Quality Rating Guidelines to the public, which revealed a shift in their focus towards "usefulness" and mobile local search. In recent years the mobile market has exploded, overtaking the use of desktops, as shown in by StatCounter in October 2016 where they analyzed 2.5 million websites and found that 51.3% of the pages were loaded by a mobile device. Google has been one of the companies that are utilizing the popularity of mobile usage by encouraging websites to use their Google Search Console, the Mobile-Friendly Test, which allows companies to measure up their website to the search engine results and determine how user-friendly their websites are. SEO may generate an adequate return on investment. However, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantee and the uncertainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors. Search engines can change their algorithms, impacting a website's search engine ranking, possibly resulting in a serious loss of traffic. According to Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, in 2010, Google made over 500 algorithm changes – almost 1.5 per day. It is considered a wise business practice for website operators to liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic. In addition to accessibility in terms of web crawlers (addressed above), user web accessibility has become increasingly important for SEOSource: Wikipedia