The idea behind this post came from the question posted by yohan a member at go4expert forum which was What is the difference between SEM and SEO. I gave the answer to that question there but there is something more than that which I would like to highlight as well on this but first the answer.
SEO is ranking your site well in the organic search results using tips liked by search engine but SEM is much more bigger than SEO. SEM includes the complete SEO process but also include the PPC Marketing as well as collecting data for more effective SEO.
So now you have rough idea about how search engine marketing is different from search engine optimization. So how should your search engine optimization and marketing be done. I would suggest few of the things you should do and few of the things you should not do.
Focus on conversions
This is one of the most common mistake the so called search engine expert makes. They tend to focus on bringing more people to the site and does not worry much about conversion. Conversion can be anything. Page Views, Ads, selling your product or even affiliate product. Consider you have the best website in the industry and hitting digg front page every day, get thousands of users to your site daily and have the most unbelievable user interface any one can ever think of, but if that does not lead to good conversion what do you actually have is a piece of junk which you can admire for the rest of your life. Harsh but thats the fact.
Search Engine is not the only marketing option
Many people at times are stuck with the efforts of only search engine optimization and marketing and does not concentrate on other forms of marketing. Believe me there are many others forms of marketing like word of mouth, social media marketing on sites like facebook, twitter, viral marketing, Email Marketing and many more. I buy from amazon not because I found amazon on Google but its because of word of mouth.
Judge your SEO Expert
Many people tend to outsource SEO work to others thinking its kind of data entry job of doing link exchanges but actually its not true. Links are no doubt one of the most important aspects of SEO but then the person who is doing SEO should know the job and you should also judged him properly. I prefer that the an SEO expert has his own website ranked pretty well because if he is an SEO expert he should rank himself well than others. Does this not sound natural. So before you outsource your SEO work consider judging your SEO expert with what he has achieved for himself and not for other clients. Ask him what he would do for you to out rank your competitors.
SEO needs budget and patience
Many people do not success in SEO activity because they think SEO is something that comes naturally and does not need any effort on your part. This is completely a myth. No doubt vBulletin is one of the best forum CMS available but if you see there are very few forums who do not use vbSEO as an added plugin on. vbSEO according to me is costly not from what it provides but from the point of view that its just a plugin of vBulletin and is priced almost equal to the price of vBulletin. So remember when you go for your SEO efforts remember it needs budget as well as patience.
If you plan to try your hands on SEO yourself or even would like to learn it in an organized way I would suggest you get SEOBook for yourself. Its undoubtedly one of the best resource for learning SEO.