• http://www.facebook.com/shaad.hamid Shaad Hamid

    I generally refer to SEO+PPC as SEM. I think this helps in that it distinguishes which digital media or channel that’s focused on. Digital marketing or eMarketing to me is the umbrella term that covers everything that is related to on-line marketing activities. I’m quite surprised that there is no consensus on these acronyms.

  • http://www.iloveseo.net Gianluca Fiorelli

    If we want to be loyal to the original meaning of Inbound Marketing, then it would have just to include organic generated traffic from search, social and content marketing. Everything related to “paid marketing” is falling in what Hubspot definition itself call as “Outbound Marketing”.
    To use an umbrella definition which may include also paid search and “paid social”… I agree with you: that is Internet Marketing in its totality (and the term is so open that, in the future, it may include Mobile Marketing and its sub-genres, which are substantially based on Internet too).

  • http://profiles.google.com/gladstein Bob Gladstein

    What do SEO, PPC, and SMM all have in common? They’re all marketing activities via the medium of the internet, so if we need an umbrella term that encompasses them all, I’d say it’s either “web marketing” or “internet marketing”.

  • Joon B Yoo

    I am a newcomer in the SEO world (6 months old) and I agree that SEM = SEO + PPC. However, I think people refer SEM as PPC because that is what Google states.

    According to Google Adwords Certification exam guide,
    “Search engine marketing (SEM) is the process of promoting and marketing a
    website through paid listings (advertisements) on search engines.”  ( http://goo.gl/auElN )

  • Nicolette Meth

    I think Google has decided for us now. Just last night I started going through the AdWords Exam Study Learning Center and was surprised to find at the very beginning (http://support.google.com/adwords/certification/bin/static.py?hl=en&topic=23613&guide=23611&page=guide.cs&answer=151863) defining SEM as paid search. My understanding for years has been that SEM was both SEO & PPC! It was not in last years learning center, but I guess we have tyo go with the flow now.

  • http://twitter.com/SEM_Deutschland Olaf Kopp

    Hi Danny great article. I support the definition of SEM being an umbrella term für SEO + SEA or PPC over here in germany too for years, also wrote some articles about it and never get tired to mention it during my speaker engagements. I think the term SEA is also becoming more popular in Germany and more search experts use it.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Danny – I added the following comment the last time you wrote on this:

    “I find my students get so mixed up trying to segregate SEO and on-SERP advertising that in my books I cover SEO in one chapter and SE ads in the chapter on online advertising – though, naturally, I start the SEO chapter with an intro that explains why I have divided them such.

    An added advantage with this is that the Adwords and Adsense concepts & operation are so similar it is easier to cover them as part of ‘advertising’ and not divide them into SEM and advertising. But yes, SEO + CPC does = SEM”

    I would now add to that I think it is particularly important for education, training and
    recruitment that we define the practices within our discipline – so folk know what they are learning and what jobs they can or can’t apply for [or forums they attend :) ]

    And seeing as you opened the door on the subject – I keep coming across organizations and/or individuals who class advertising on Facebook as Social Media Marketing [SEM]. Naturally, I call it advertising … on social media, and put it in the chapter on advertising, not the one on SEM.

    Having said all this, however, I have books with ‘e-marketing’, ‘online marketing’ and ‘digital’ in their respective titles – and they are all [I think] on the same subject. I
    also have a book called ‘Key Concepts in e-Commerce’, and I’m not sure what ‘e-commerce’ is … so my opinion on SEM carries little weight.

  • Anonymous

    Great post, thanks for extending the conversation. The point I want to make is that I feel strongly we can’t go with inbound marketing as the appropriate term because truly, inbound marketing is a far more comprehensive undertaking than just the combination of SEO and social media. I once wrote that it was made up of 7 key elements, (http://inboundmarketingexperts.ca/blog-0/bid/40743/Just-What-is-Inbound-Marketing-Seven-Key-Elements) but feel that doesn’t do the term justice anymore.

    We are living and working in a space that is incredibly dynamic and we see new terms popping up all the time. For us old gray hairs it’s hard to keep up with! Bottom line is we will continue to see change, and the relevancy of terms is going to be in flux just as the chart you incorporated in your post suggests…to think otherwise, well, we’re just fooling ourselves.

  • http://www.ydeveloper.com/kaushalam-ecommerce.html eCommerce

    People are really confused for the meaning of terms, SEO(http://www.kaushalam.com/internet-marketing-seo-services.html ), SEM and Social Media Optimization. We believe SEM means all the paid as well as non-paid natural activities performed to earn the traffic.