Understanding the Differences between SEM/SEO


SEM/SEO: The Differences

Whenever there is a discussion between internet marketers and online entrepreneurs regarding the different marketing strategies that are currently being used, you will oftentimes hear the terms SEM and SEO.  These important marketing strategies are better known as search engine marketing and search engine optimization respectfully.  However, for many internet businesses, they are the secret weapon that helps these different companies expand and grow while achieving success in the long run.

Definition of Terms

Most online business owners are knowledgeable of these two marketing practices, but if you are not familiar with these terms, they are defined as follows:

Search engine marketing

Sometimes referred to as paid search marketing, SEM is a type of internet marketing that is utilized in the promotion of website businesses.  This practice helps to increase the visibility of these businesses in the SERP’s (search engine results pages) through advertising and optimization.

Search engine optimization

Which also known as a natural or unpaid search option, SEO is a process that positively impacts a web page or website’s visibility in the SERP’s.

SEM focuses on investing advertising dollars in relevant keywords so you appear higher in the search engine rankings whereas SEO focuses on natural or organic searches and ranking higher in the SERP’s for the business-related keywords that have been selected.

How do SEM and SEO Differ?

Aside from the definitive differences listed above in the prior section, there are a number of other differences that you need to be aware of before incorporating either or both practices into your overall internet marketing strategy.  The following is a breakdown of the way in which these internet marketing practices differ and what each is comprised of:

SEO is a “white hat” marketing practice

It is typically comprised of a set of ethical and legitimate practices that web content producers and webmasters adhere to in order to achieve better search engine rankings.  These practices include:

  • Building links in order to improve their popularity
  • Creating and publishing informative and interesting content
  • Improving site navigability in order to provide visitor traffic with a better user experience
  • Using keyword analysis and research to find relevant search terms
  • Utilizing social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter

The goal of SEO is to achieve the highest ranking possible in the SERP’s of the major search engines such as Bing, Google, Yahoo!, etc.

SEM is a much broader practice than SEO

It includes the use of paid searches unlike SEO which utilizes natural or organic searching.  SEM describes certain acts related to the researching and submitting of a website as well as its positioning.  It includes paid listings, SEO, and other search engine functions and services that help to increase a website’s exposure and drive more traffic to it.  Additionally, SEM utilizes PPC (pay-per-click) ads in order to develop a successful internet marketing campaign.

5 Tips for Mastering SEM/SEO

The following is a list of 5 helpful tips that will help you master SEM and SEO when you are first starting out:

  • Create high-quality, relevant content and employ local optimization in order to target your geographic area
  • Determine what sets your business apart from your competitors
  • Make use of Google’s many marketing tools
  • Set up a profile of your business on Google+
  • Use Google Adwords and PPC advertising

Your desired results are the goal so keep that is mind whenever you are incorporating SEM and SEO in your marketing campaign strategy.  Both practices attract website traffic, but they use different methods for accomplishing that.  You can always use SEM or SEO as separate marketing practices.  However it is recommended that there are greater benefits when using both strategies.

Request a Quote