You keep hearing about the need for SEM and SEO for your website, but all you hear is alphabet soup. What are SEM and SEO? What is the difference between them and does your company even need these to be successful? We’re here to help.
What is SEM and SEO?
To put it plainly, SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are types of digital marketing. These practices are specifically used to promote your websites by increasing their usability in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) like Google or Bing.
SEM is a broader practice of increasing web usability that uses SEO and paid advertisement listings, like Pay per Click (PPC) or Google Adwords campaigns. In other words, SEM can be thought of as buying traffic to your site through paid search listings. By using SEM you can instantly increase your web traffic and it guarantees a better visibility on search engine results pages.
SEO is the unpaid component of SEM. It increases your web traffic organically by adjusting or rewriting your website content architecture in order to achieve higher rankings. In other words, SEO uses content already on your website to help search engines “read” and properly index your site, and increase traffic.
SEO can be even further broken down into active SEO and passive SEO. Active SEO refers to going outside your site to build or influence other sites to point to you. This can be achieved through consistently creating new content, like blog posts. New followers begin to recognize you as a thought leader in your market space and link to your site. Passive SEO refers to the management of SEO that is on your site, including using tags correctly, reusing keywords and having good descriptions and articles. Search engines, like Google and Bing, use both passive and active factors in their algorithms to make sure that they are providing relevant information to their searchers.
SEO is important for companies that want to be found online and increase website traffic. It’s inexpensive and will increase traffic over time, however it is a long term approach. Having good SEO doesn’t mean that the next day you are going to increase your rankings in searches. SEO establishes your presence and search engine credibility and, just like the real world, it takes a while for the word to get out.
SEM (PPC/Adwords) on the other hand instantly increases your web traffic. The people who see SEM advertisements are actively searching the keywords you acquire. However, it’s a paid service so you will be coming out of pocket.
Would my company benefit?
Many businesses benefit from SEM and nearly all benefit from better SEO practices. But it is important to assess website intent, use, and market dynamics when a business is considering SEM options. One “size” definitely does not fit all!