SEO and SEM are two well established marketing strategies in the world of online business. But what are they exactly? What are the differences between them? Most importantly, which one is better for helping you reach your marketing goals? Check out our SEO vs. SEM infographic guide to learn more.
SEO vs. SEM: What are their Definitions?
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) means using a wide range of search engine marketing strategies to bring traffic to your site. SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing your site for better performance in garnering natural search engine traffic.
These two definitions might still sound pretty synonymous. But because SEO and SEM are not the same things, their names cannot be used interchangeably. In simple terms, SEO focuses on just optimizing for search results traffic – usually by optimizing website content. SEM involves the entire range of search marketing opportunities available including those that go beyond SEO, like paid-ad spots on search engines and paid social media marketing.
SEM involves using the full range of search marketing tools including SEO, Pay-per-Click advertising, social media advertising and Google or Bing shopping campaigns. SEO is still considered a part of SEM since it’s a valid method of marketing in the world of web search. One that exploits search engine algorithms to naturally rank higher on search results pages.
How are their Results Different?
Another important distinction to note in SEO vs. SEM marketing is how they give different results. Optimizing a website for SEO traffic can be laborious and it can sometimes take a long time to see results. Alternatively, SEM’s paid advertising strategies mean you can get your website visible in search engines immediately – and start bringing in visitors just as quickly if you are willing to pay. A competitive PPC campaign means bidding on keywords and paying a small fee any time your ad is clicked on.
These concepts are not exclusive to each other and both can be used together for maximum site visibility.
Our SEO vs. SEM infographic below makes it easier to see how these two marketing approaches are different along with the key strategies involved in each one. Want to learn more about these marketing strategies? Contact Radd for information on our strategic SEO services, paid media marketing, and PPC management services.