February 22, 2018

SEO & SEM: What is the difference?

Maximise your online presence with the dynamic duo: SEO & SEM! Elevate your visibility and drive results with our expert services. Let us help you get started.

SEO & SEM – Search engine optimisation and search engine marketing can be a perplex concept to understand. Is there even a difference between them? Both terms are often used mutually, which makes matters even worse. It is important to understand the difference between the two terms and that they are different.

SEO is increasing the amount of website visitors by getting the site to appear high on results returned by a search engine.

SEM is considered internet marketing that increases a site’s visibility through organic search engines results and advertising. SEM includes SEO as well as other search marketing tactics.

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

SEO is essentially a component of the larger category, SEM. The SEO industry is continually changing due to the frequent changes made to Google’s algorithm. But, there is one aspect of SEO that stays constant: SEO is made up of On-Page and Off-Page activities. SEO is organic content which is free, however, takes longer to receive results.

What Components Does SEO Include?

As stated above, SEO is comprised of two different activities.

On-Page SEO includes:

  • Incorporating selective keywords naturally into title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, alt text, etc.
  • Blog posts and page copy that is written and optimised with quality.
  • Optimised page load speed
  • Social sharing integration within your content

Off-Page SEO includes:

  • Creating a high quality, natural backlink profile (aka having other high quality/authoritative sites link to your site naturally)
  • Social sharing signals
  • Social bookmarking
  • List goes on here too!

What is search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

According to Wikipedia, “Search engine marketing is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPS) through optimisation and advertising.” SEM includes SEO tactics, as well as several other search marketing tactics.

What Components Does SEM Include?

Other than search engine optimisation, SEM includes the use of paid search, such as pay per click (PPC) listings and advertisements. Most of the time, SEM strictly includes PPC campaigns and activities, but if you use SEO and paid search, that falls under SEM efforts.

What is the main difference between SEO and SEM?

The main difference between these two terms is that search engine optimisation is simply a component of search engine marketing. As mentioned above, SEM includes components of paid search, such as PPC and also SMM (social media marketing).

It is important to note that you should never use the terms SEO and SEM mutually, because although they work hand in hand, they are not the same term.

Which marketing tactic is better?

Many marketers debate whether one is better than the other. I would argue that organic SEO is the best approach, but as you can see, true SEM cannot succeed without the use of organic SEO.

Although organic SEO takes longer to show results, in the end it will be less costly and you will establish a search credibility that you might not establish with PPC. Let us help you optimise your content with our SEO & SEM services. Contact us today to learn more on how to get started.

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