The Difference Between SEO and SEM: A Complete Guide
The difference between SEO and SEM can be an elusive one. When you break these two terms down into their acronyms, search engine optimization and search engine marketing, respectively, it doesn’t really help: after all, surely SEO is a type of marketing?
The truth is, there’s a big difference between SEO and SEM. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at what each of these terms really means, the strategies involved, and how they can both help you.
Are you ready to learn more and improve your business’ marketing? Then read on!
What Is SEO?
SEO is the umbrella name given to a whole host of different techniques that all serve the same purpose: improving your ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Depending on whether you hire a company to help you out or not, this could be free in monetary terms. However you do it, the aim is to increase organic traffic, which means increasing the number of visitors to your site.
Some key parts of this include keyword research, where you find the keywords that will attract visitors to your website; content creation, where you create content that features these keywords, and backlinks, which are links to your website from other sites, which will improve your website’s authority.
The results may take some time to show. They’ll usually start to pay off within a few months but may take up to a year. However, this kind of optimization also sticks around for a long time: you should see the benefits of a great SEO campaign for years to come.
If you’re not a seasoned veteran of content marketing and SEO, this may sound like a lot of work, and the tasks may be confusing. If this is the case, hiring an SEO agency to help you is your best bet. Click here for more info about what an agency can do for you.
What Is SEM?
While SEM has the same end goal and some would even consider SEO to be part of SEM, it tends to focus on paid search to accomplish this. Paid search is the name given to marketing strategies such as using pay-per-click ads to drive visitors to your website.
This has a key advantage over SEO: once you’ve created an ad campaign, it will give you a place on the first page of the SERPs instantly. However, it offers none of the lasting benefits of an SEO campaign. Once you end the campaign, you’ll lose your paid position.
While it may increase your search ranking due to increased traffic, and this will stick around, it may not give you the same increase as an SEO campaign.
This kind of paid search also doesn’t help you out with backlinks and other key benefits of SEO.
Now You Know the Difference Between SEO and SEM
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this look at the difference between SEO and SEM. Both can help your business a great deal but we’d recommend using SEO if you’d like to improve your business’ search ranking in the long term.