Search Engine Marketing (SEM)Search Engine Marketing is defined by New York Times as buying paid inclusions and paid placements (sponsored links or sponsored ads) in search engine result pages (SERP). This is the definition I would agree with. Others include Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in Search Engine Marketing. I personally feel Search Engine Optimization should be place in a class of its own and will write about it in another post, but put a brief description here. SEO is using various means of getting a site placed higher in search engines result pages, frequently by trying to get as many inbound links as possible, and also by using keywords in the site URL, post titles and within the post content. Hits obtained in this way is referred to as organic (free) hits.
Paid inclusionsPaid inclusions are links are mixed with those links which the search engines find relevant. Fee payable may be an annual subscription for one webpage, which will automatically be catalogued on a regular basis. A per-click fee may also apply. New site can thus get their site indexed faster (within one or two days compared with weeks). The website will be crawled more regularly and more complete so that all their pages are included. Many says paying for paid inclusion does not mean a higher ranking for the site, but I suspect it may make a difference, otherwise why would one bother to pay for paid inclusions as the advantages of getting a new site indexed faster is only a slight and temporary advantage. Most search engines allow paid inclusions. Google do not allow paid inclusions. This is one of the reasons I prefer to use Google for my searches.
Paid placements or sponsored advertisementsPaid placements, sponsored advertisements or sponsored links are advertisements on search engine result pages (SERP) separate from the rest of the normal links. Search Engine Marketers pay search engine companies to include their websites in the search engine index where advertisers are guaranteed a higher ranking in relation to desired keywords. In paid placements, you can distinguish such sponsored links and they may be placed at the top of the list of normal links like in the screen shot below (sponsored link highlighted by a red rectangle):
Search Engine Marketing Hints is a blog which give more information on Search Engine Marketing. It appear to be a fairly new blog as the earliest post I could find is Top 4 Sites To Buy Blog Links which is dated August 14, 2007. But it sure is an active blog regularly updated as after only a short time, it already have many posts, and probably by the time you surf over to that site, it will have many more posts. However, the owner seems to subscribe to the other viewpoint that Search Engine Marketing (SEM) include Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as there is a category SEO Hints which at the time of publishing of this post contains 4 posts.