Jargon Decoder: SEO, SEM & SEA

Job ads are always full of acronyms, abbreviations and acrostics. While their intention is to help you see if you’re the right fit for the job, a jargon-filled job description can often just be intimidating. So we’re going to break it all down – break it down, break it down now – for you.

If you’re looking for jobs in Marketing, a term you’ll likely see a lot is SEO. While you might know that the acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization, you might not exactly know what that is.

Spare your blushes. I’m about to tell you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how you make a web page show up in ‘organic’ search results. That means a web page will show up higher on the list when people search for relevant keywords.

By combining technical methods with clever editorial that uses relevant keywords, phrases and tags, you can make a page appear close to the top of a search list. The reason people like it so much is that the closer a site is to the top of the page, the more likely people will see it. This of course leads to clicks, which brings traffic to the site.

This kind of SEO is less crucial as shareability is becoming paramount. That’s better for readers as companies are making an effort to make their copy a pleasure to read, rather than just ticking boxes for search engines.

Search engine providers are also cottoning on to the shady practice of Black Hat SEO which uses aggressive tactics to scramble to the top of search results. These pages are usually pretty nasty to read and providers like Google are getting better at catching them.

Sign up for Jobspotting to make it easier to get a new job.Something that search engines do like however, are lots of links back to your site. If your site is being shared or mentioned on other sites, they’ll bump it up the search list. Therefore, a big part of SEO is often to seek out other sites that will link back to yours. Hence the rise of shareability!

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) means paying the search engine provider to increase the visibility of your site, so that it appears at the top of organic, unpaid search results. You’ve all seen the ads at the top of your search results, which are relevant but probably not the ‘droids you’re looking for.

When I talk about SEA, I’m not just being overly enthusiastic about bodies of water. In this case it’s a paid marketing model and stands for Search Engine Advertising. It’s essentially the same thing as SEM – they just threw in an extra acronym to confuse you.

It’s good for generating traffic and is used over a short promotional period. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads mean you agree to pay a small fee every time someone clicks through to your target site.

So… feeling informed? Tell us what terms you’re not sure about. There’s lots of conflicting advice out there, but Jobspotting’s got the definitive version!

Carrie M. King

Carrie M. King

Carrie M. King is the Editor of the Journal by Jobspotting. Hailing originally from smack-bang in the middle of Ireland, she moved to Berlin in 2014 to join the gang at Jobspotting. Carrie previously worked in journalism and literature. If you want to share thoughts or ideas, get in touch: carrie@jobspotting.com