seo vs sem

SEO Vs. SEM: What Is The Difference and What Works Better

January 31, 2021Marketing

Search engine marketing is the best way to get traffic and increase business revenue. But this could be difficult and sink your marketing money if you don’t understand the difference and effectiveness between SEO and SEM.

Here in this article, I am going to talk about what is SEO and SEM, their differences, and their effectiveness. It will help you understand SEO and SEM properly. Therefore, it will increase your customers and revenue.

So, let’s start.

What is SEO

SEO or search engine optimization is a part of search engine marketing. The goal of SEO is to gain top positions in organic results. Therefore, getting traffic from organic rankings. In SEO, marketers use different technics to improve their position in the search results. Sometimes it is called white hat SEO tactics. They are divided into three major groups, and they are;

On-page SEO

The main goal of on-page SEO is to help the search engine to know about a page exactly. Thus, improve the ranking. On-page SEO targets individual pages of a website for specific keywords. It consists of keyword research, content creation, content optimization, etc.

Off-page SEO

When it comes to off-page SEO, it aims to increase website authority and reliability through connecting with other websites. Off-page SEO consists of link acquiring, link building, and managing listing and directory profiles. When a website gets links from other sites, that means it is a reliable and authority site in the eyes of the search engine. Therefore, it helps to improve the positions on the organic results.

Technical SEO

Unlike on-page and off-page SEO, technical SEO targets non-content issues. It improves a website’s backend issues to increase its performance. Technical SEO includes site speed, mobile responsiveness, crawlability, site structure, improving user experience, indexing, security, etc. It improves user experience besides the search engine’s crawler experience. As a result, it boosts the website’s position on the organic results.

What is SEM

SEM or search engine marketing is referred to paid search marketing. It is a part of search engine marketing, but it uses paid strategy. It includes keyword research, creating ad copy, and setting up ad campaigns. Furthermore, it also includes setting up budgets and optimize that from time to time.

This strategy is also known as pay per click or paid search. In this strategy, you pay the search click provider for every click.

For this strategy, most marketers use Google ads as it is the world’s largest search provider, and it can show ads for any industry. Marketers conduct keyword research and select the best keywords related to their business, product, and services. Then they select bids and create ad copies for showing on the SERP. When someone searches for that particular keyword search provider shows that ad in front of them. If anyone clicks the ad, the search provider deducts money from the ad account for that particular click. This is how SEM or paid search marketing works. Here is how it looks like on the SERP.

What is sem

SEO VS SEM: What are the differences?

Here are some common differences between SEO and SEM;

SEM includes ad sign SEO doesn’t

SEM and SEO both appear on the SERP, but they look different from each other. SEM results come with a special sign. On the other hand, SEO results don’t contain any signs. Here is how SEM and SEO look like;

SEM includes ad sign

SEO comes with feature snippets, and SEM comes with Ad extensions

There is a unique difference between the appearance of SEM and SEO results. SEO results come with feature snippets. On the other hand, SEM results come with different ad extensions such as; site links, call to actions, phone numbers, etc.

SEM is paid SEO doesn’t

SEM compared to SEO is paid. This means when someone clicks on the SEM results, the ad owner will pay for that click. On the opposite side, you never pay for getting clicks from organic results. You should have the budget for running an SEM campaign for a long time.

You can target audience in SEM but not in SEO

SEM allows you to target your potential audience through filtration. It allows filtering your target audience through age, location, habit, income, etc. Targeting options depend on your respective publisher. On the flip side, you cannot target your audience in SEO through filtering age, location, income, etc.

SEO takes time SEM not

SEM is a short time process. It can take few minutes to create an ad campaign then it will start showing your ad on the SERP. Oppositely, SEO is a long process. It takes a long time. Sometimes it could take six months to one year. In other words, SEO is the result of the continuous implementation of SEO strategies.

SEO VS SEM: Which one is better?

It is a tough question to answer as there is no direct answer to this question. SEO and SEM have their respective benefits. But each one is better for a particular situation. That’s why you should check your marketing target and requirement then select one which suits you best in your situation. Let’s talk about some situations where each one performs better;

What if you need to show your brand on the SERP within one week? What will you do? In this case, it is almost impossible for SEO to achieve it. SEM suits best in this context as it can start showing your brand on the SERP almost immediately.

If you need to target your customer specifically, SEM will perform better here because it allows the filtering audience to reach your most targeted clients. SEO can’t do this as it doesn’t have the option to filter the audience.

If you want to increase your brand reputation and reliability, you can’t achieve it without SEO. Here SEM won’t be effective because you need to show up on the organic result continuously.

People buy from brands that they know most. In this situation, to make your brand known to customers, you must show up your brand on the organic results. Here only SEO can do the job.

Final words

SEO and SEM are both parts of search engine marketing. Both are the best way to increase your brand presence online. Before selecting any of them, you need to figure out your business target goal. Then you can choose one which suits your situation best. SEO and SEM are both effective search engine marketing methods, but you need to choose them wisely.

 

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