Guide To SEM Vs SEO


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

As consumers turn to the web to become informed, make purchase decisions, and familiarize themselves with businesses and brands, it is crucial to have a strong online marketing strategy. There's no disputing it -- online marketing is a critical component of attracting new customers and guiding your small business' success.

The difficulty is that so many small business owners have no idea what it takes to make their online website marketing efforts work for them.

The truth is that when it comes to getting traffic to your site through search engines, there are two popular routes you can take.

So what are they and what's the difference? 

Well, both Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization aim to increase the visibility of your site in search engines. 

However, whereas SEO is about optimizing your website to get better rankings in the search results, SEM involves paying search engines for visibility through campaigns and ads. 

Let's go more in-depth...

What exactly is SEO?

SEO is the process of optimizing your website for the purpose of getting free traffic from search engines. Optimized websites are understood better by search engines "crawlers" and therefore have a higher probability of being ranked higher in organic search results.

There are a few strategies that help you optimize your website for search engines. There are onsite and offsite tactics that can benefit your site. 

On-Site SEO is best practices that you can apply directly to your website or blog so that it’s more search engine friendly. This translates to proper headings, meta tags, descriptions, and other efforts you can make to optimize your website for search engines.

Off-Site SEO strategies are typically links coming from other websites back to your site.  As it turns out, this is one of the most complex SEO strategies and is not for the faint of heart.

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing is the method in which you obtain website traffic through paid search advertising in search engine results. SEM is normally considered the most valuable of the two because the audience that your site receives is targeted. Instead of trying to rank higher and get the free traffic you pay to appear in front of specified searches.