SEO vs SEM

The world has never been the same since the Internet was introduced. With the advent of the digital revolution, amazing things that we once thought were impossible were made available to us. It made the world a smaller but a better place especially for selling your products, services, brand, and business as a whole.

With the development in the business world comes the evolution of marketing terms, jargons, and acronyms. Almost all marketers are guilty of using different kinds of terms that at times confuse the clients. The truth is even marketers are sometimes confused about the terms and acronyms that they use.

One perfect example is the acronyms, SEO and SEM. In the online marketing world, these terms are most often used interchangeably. Some even pull the terms from thin air without clearly knowing the distinction between the two terms.

If you are nodding your head in agreement while reading this, then you are not alone. The terms search engine optimization and search engine marketing can be very confusing. While they are related, they are individually different.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vs. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Let's take a look at both terms deeper and expand on each one as we go along. SEO is increasing the number of website visitors by enabling the site to show high on the results when you search a particular term or sentence using a search engine. SEM, on the other hand, is an internet marketing process that increases the visibility of the site through advertising and organic search engine results. SEO is just a part of one of the strategies of SEM.

So What is SEO?

SEO or search engine optimization is a strategy of turning a website into a user-friendly site for search engines to pick up. It involves several technical components like utilizing clean code, fast load times, and high-quality content. This could be in the form of visitor statistics, content, backlinks, multimedia, as well as social media sharing.

The search engine giant Google is believed to be using more than 200 criteria before finally deciding which site tops Google’s search results for any given keyword. SEO is just one of the numerous components that make up SEM. Its major function is to enhance the exposure of the site in the search engine results page. As a result, it aids in raking in free and organic traffic to the website.

The focus of search engine optimization is to make high-quality and valuable contents that relate to the business itself. Additionally, the content is deemed relevant to the searchers by the search engine. It is important to note that the search algorithm of the search engine giant is incessantly modifying and altering.

It is very important that you understand and track these changes. In addition, SEO strategies do not work overnight or give you results immediately. The normal SEO campaign typically takes anywhere from 6 month to 12 months for good results. When executed properly, it could pull in heavy traffic to your website that will set off a positive domino effect on the business as a whole.

Pillars Of SEO

Search engine optimization is composed of two unique pillars. These are the on-site and off-site pillars. The term on-site refers to everything within your own website. Some basic tasks in on-site or on-page SEO include the following:

  • Adding proper keywords into meta descriptions, title tags, alt text, and heading tags, to name a few
  • Written and optimized quality page content and blog posts
  • Formatting and cleaning up page URLS
  • Enhanced load speed of the page
  • Incorporating Google authorship
  • Integration of social sharing within your content

Off-Page or off-site SEO includes the following:

  • Making a natural but high-quality backlink profile. This is also known as link building from high-quality and authoritative websites through guest posts or outreach.
  • Signs of social sharing
  • Bookmarking in social sites
  • Content sharing with other sites in your niche.

What Is search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Search Engine Marketing is a type of Internet marketing that promotes websites by making them very visible in various SERPs because of advertising and optimization. SEM uses advertisements and paid search listings. Unlike its components SEO, SEM delivers quick results by providing fast and substantial exposure to a particular site or the page.

Aside from search engine optimization, SEM involves using a paid search like pay per click listings as well as advertisements. Most often search engine marketing includes pay per click activities and campaigns. However, if you utilize paid search and SEO, then it should be recognized as an effort under SEM.

There is a list of prevalent practices for optimizing your money within a paid search campaign. This includes the following:

PPC or Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

PPC campaigns are highly focused. You should finish thorough keyword research before consider this option or buying. When you have finally selected the keywords that are most pertinent to your brand or business, you can buy the ads on the SERPs where those keywords will be found. In this type of campaign, advertisers pay every time an ad is clicked or its link is opened. Some of the examples of this kind of campaign include Google AdsWords, Yahoo Search Ads, and Bing Ads.

Geo-Targeting

This strategy includes providing exact ads or content to a site user depending on their geographical location. This process is designed to focus on local customers making it a perfect strategy for small businesses.

Keyword Research for SEO and SEM

This is the primary component of search engine marketing since these are what users key in on the search box of the search engines to learn about something. Before you invest your money in this method, it is important that you do some research about the keyword. This way, you will determine what the users would like to know about your brand, business, product, or service. If you are not sure where to begin, you can find various keyword tools online.

Which Marketing Strategy Is Better SEO or SEM?

Until now, there is a debate among advocates of either side regarding which strategy is better than the other. For an inbound marketer, the best approach would be the organic search engine optimization. However, if you look at the big picture, you will realize that genuine search engine marketing will not and could not succeed without the help of organic search engine optimization.

In addition, there are a number of instances where pay per click campaigns are more useful than search engine optimization. For instance, if you want to achieve immediate visibility when you launch your site, the best approach is to create a pay per click campaign since it works faster than SEO and gives instant results.

However, it is foolish and impractical to work solely on PPC without touching on SEO. While it is true that organic search engine optimization takes time to yield results, in the long run, organic SEO becomes less expensive and sticks around. In addition, your site will create a search reputation or credibility that you will not achieve using pay per click campaigns.

The debate about which strategy is better than the other is not going to end. However, it is more constructive if we put an end to the battle for supremacy between the two. Instead, change your perspective and treat high-quality search engine optimization as a requirement for a highly-effective and high-quality search engine marketing.

Search engine optimization is the crucial stepping stone for highly-optimized content that customers and prospects of the search engine marketing find useful. Without blog content, landing pages and web pages that are optimized for search, your efforts in search engine marketing will be in vain because of low quality. As a result, there is little to zero chance that your page will be visible to the SERPs.

In the long run, organic search engine optimization will establish your website’s credibility given that you maintain the quality of your content as well as your social media usage. Organic SEO then becomes less expensive. So, going back to the question, which is the best tactic, the answer is it depends on your specific needs and what you would like to achieve. The key here is fully knowing the difference between the two and maintaining the consistency of your efforts.

At Oregon Web Solutions, we also offer the following services:

  • Website Designing
  • Social Media Management
  • PPC Advertising
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Video Marketing
  • Niche Market Research
  • And Facebook Paid Ad Campaigns

SEO and SEM Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our article on SEO vs SEM. If you are considering looking into SEM and SEO or any of our other services and would like a free consultation, simply fill out the form below and we will get back to you right away:

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SEO vs SEM

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