The Key Difference Between SEO and SEM: A Quick Guide

Why does your business need to know the key difference between SEO and SEM?

Fifty-three percent of all website traffic comes from organic search results. Three-quarters of people use their smartphones to search for a local service.

Rising to the top of Google Search has never been more important. How does SEO help you get there and is it different from search engine marketing?

Read on to learn how to attract quality visitors to your site and the benefits of SEM and SEO.

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO or search engine optimization describes how to meet a search engine’s requirements to list high on its rankings.

Google wants to provide its users with the best website content possible. It promotes sites that offer a great user experience.

SEO ensures that your pages follow the search engine giant’s guidelines.

Optimization is an ongoing process. It covers a wide range of techniques like content creation and backlinking as well as enhancing page load times.

What Is Search Engine Marketing?

SEM is a broad term used to describe marketing a brand online via a search engine. Yet, the key focus is that search engine marketing is a paid form of advertising.

The most well-known form of SEM is pay-per-click (PPC).

Advertisers create an advert based on search queries called keywords. These ads will appear to users when their searches match those terms. The advertiser only has to pay when the customer clicks on the advertisement.

Difference Between SEO and SEM

SEM requires businesses to pay a search engine to display their advert. SEO targets organic results or free listings.

PPC ads are an excellent way to promote your business in the short term.

Google Ads will review your advert within 48 hours. Once activated, it will appear throughout the Google network which also covers Google Maps.

However, the cost per click (CPC) varies depending on your industry with some ads fetching up to $58! Ad display is also limited to your daily budget, unlike SEO which continues to work over time.

Importance of SEO

Search engine optimization ensures that your website ranks highly on Google Search. That covers both typed queries and voice searches too.

Did you know that one in two smartphones now use voice search on a daily basis?

That has impacted search results which in turn has evolved the SEO process. Companies now realize how a voice search SEO strategy can attract additional visitors.

You can find more info here about voice search SEO.

Benefits of SEM

Although you should focus your efforts on SEO as it will bring traffic to your site from the medium to long term, don’t ignore SEM.

Paid ads can boost your initial marketing efforts. They’re easy to track and you can see exactly how your budget was spent.

It’s simple to edit an advert and you can switch it on or off as you please. You can even target your local customer base down to a one-mile radius.

Advice on Types of Digital Marketing

The key difference between SEO and SEM boils down to expenditure over time.

Although paid advertising offers many advantages it’s not sustainable for many smaller businesses. SEO provides a way to boost search engine rankings but also build a solid base for your site. That will scale for the future and in turn, will attract more traffic. Learn more about the different types of digital marketing on our blog.

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