Before you jump into a battle between SEO vs. SEM, it is good to know the differences between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). People often confuse SEO and SEM. But these two online marketing concepts could not be more different. Here what sets them apart.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The search engine like Google and Bing use criteria to ensure they serve high-quality, relevant search results to their users. SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization is the practice of making your website more attractive to search engines by full filling these criteria. It is a long-term strategy involves creating highly relevant content that contains keywords, getting other sites to link to yours, building the social media following and more. SEO is more about earning those website visitors through those organic, natural, or unpaid methods.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
A practice of creating ads and bidding against competitors for the chance to have those ads appear as sponsored links when users do a web search for specific keywords and phrases. It costs money but can get you lots of traffic quickly. SEM typically refers to those paid search activities, for example, Google Adwords or PPC. They are aimed at actively driving and promoting visitors to your website.
SEO and SEM Together
With SEM you are only renting the ad space for as long as you are paying for it. So as soon as you stop paying for that space, your leads end. So again, you’re not gaining that equity much like renting the trade-off is you typically leads now and your return much quicker. With SEO it is more like buying it allows you to begin building and owning your online presence. You work to establish your brand and your credibility for the long haul. Now the tradeoff here is that you typically take a little bit longer to see your return on investment. So while both are keyword related, both are traffic drivers, both complement one another, they are two entirely different things. The best websites have a strategy for both.
Both SEO and SEM can be hugely beneficial to your businesses’ online marketing efforts. But this potential payoff requires an investment of time, energy, and specialized skills. Hiring an SEO or SEM specialist will allow you to up your online marketing game of freeing you up to keep building your business.