Many of us think that Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or paid search advertising, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are the same things.
But are they the same?
SEM is basically a kind of Internet marketing.
Here, you promote a website by boosting its visibility in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), primarily through paid search or advertising.
SEO–on the other hand–is the optimization of pages through organic and non-paid methods, through content & social media promotions.
But we will talk about the difference, in detail, later.
Let’s first figure-out what SEM is!
It’s the procedure of getting traffic and visibility from the search engines, through both paid and unpaid efforts.
It powers and improves the reach of the search engines so that you get more clients–at the right time and the right place.
Search Engine Marketing covers:
A. SEO: This helps you get traffic through unpaid or free listings. It works on website content and site architecture, and improves rankings in the SERPs to boost pay per click (PPC) listings.
B. SEM: For it you have to purchase traffic through paid search listings.
SEM is also called:
A. Paid search ads
B. Paid Advertising
C. PPC (Pay-per-click)
Though Google Ads is the most commonly known and used paid search tool, you will help your internet marketing cause further if you use Bing or Yahoo also.
SEO and SEM: Which Is Better?
Coming back to the differences, the key difference between the two is that SEO is simply a component of the SEM. Besides SEO, SEM includes many other search marketing strategies as well, such as PPC and Social Media Marketing (SMM).
While SEO is increasing the amount of website visitors, via getting the site to fetch high results on search engines, SEM is the internet marketing that boosts a site’s visibility via organic search engines results & advertising.
An additional key difference between the two: with SEO you will have to be patient and wait for the results; with the PPC, you can hope for instant results.
Don’t use the terms SEO and SEM interchangeably.
The reason: even though they work side by side, they are anything but the same term.
SEO or SEM: Which Marketing Tactic Is Better?
As per some of those in the know, if we compare the two, organic SEO has an edge.
However, which fetches better results may depend on your general Digital Marketing targets.
SEM cannot thrive minus organic SEO.
Still, PPC (a component of SEM) may make more sense, vis-à-vis SEO in many specific cases.
For instance, in case you are first launching a site, and are keen to get high visibility at once, launch a PPC campaign. It will take less time, vis-à-vis SEO.
Still, it wouldn’t be a wise idea to focus ONLY on PPC and ignore SEO completely.
Granted organic SEO may take more time to produce results. But it will cost less eventually even as you will be able to establish a search credibility that, perhaps, you may unable to get with PPC.
If your websites rank high in the organic results for their target keywords, you will get free traffic 24/7, industry recognition, and enjoy all the benefits of SEO.
Besides, with more appearances in the searches organically, you will enjoy the option of focusing your SEM efforts on other keywords to expand your reach.
Effective SEO will make your site swift & user-friendly as well.
What tilts the pendulum further towards SEO is that Google follows a system known as Quality Score.
If Google finds that people click and then they go away thanks to not-too-good experience, you will have to pay more for every click.
To wrap it up, in case you want to attract traffic fast, begin with Search Engine Marketing, but work on your SEO simultaneously.
Generate a long-lasting and guaranteed online business with effective SEO!
Don’t rely solely on paid traffic!