Search engine marketing (SEM) and Search engine optimization (SEO) are two terms many use in alternation, but in many cases, they are not used correctly and if you don`t know these subjects well enough, you can`t spot the mistake.
Some people have heard about SEO and know what it means, but fewer have heard about SEM and know its meaning.
Moreover, many times both terms are used incorrectly by some, which produces more confusion.
In order to know what strategy is the most effective for your business, you need to understand the difference between these two concepts, so, in this article, we will clarify this confusion and we will help you differentiate the two concepts.
Search engine marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing (SEM) is an Internet marketing category that involves promoting websites by increasing their visibility in the search engine results pages (SERP) through optimization and advertising. SEM includes search marketing tactics and also SEO tactics.In general, SEM includes only PPC activities and campaigns, but if you use both paid ads and SEO, they still fall under the SEM category.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of maximizing the number of visitors for a particular website by providing it top positions in the list of results returned by a search engine. Also, SEO is just a component of search engine marketing (SEM).
The SEO industry is constantly changing due to the frequent update of the Google algorithms.
SEO includes on-site strategies such as: optimizing the website`s loading speed, creating and optimizing quality content in which you naturally incorporate selected keywords and social media sharing integration within your content.
SEO includes off-site strategies such as: creating good quality content and a natural backlink profile (links on other authority sites which naturally make reference to your site, without spamming), social bookmarking and so on.
That being said, what`s the main difference between SEO and SEM?
The main difference between these two terms is that SEO is simply a component of SEM. As we said, SEM includes tactics such as sponsored advertising (PPC) and also SMM(social media marketing) components. It is important to keep in mind that you shouldn`t alternate the use of SEO and SEM terms, because even tough they have the same purpose, they are not the same.
What is the most effective marketing tactic?
Many marketing experts debate the supremacy subject between the two tactics: search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).
Our opinion is that the choice depends on the business you have and the goals you have set out to achieve.
Sometimes PPC (pay-per-click), a SEM component, has more advantages than SEO. For example: if you launch a site and you want instant visibility, you should create a PPC campaign, because it`s a faster technique than SEO.
But if you have a long-term vision and if you want to build a brand in the industry you activate in, sponsored ads are not enough, because their costs are quite high, and the conversion rate is generally low. In this case, we recommend you to run both SEO and PPC campaigns.
Although the results of SEO optimization are seen after a longer period, the costs will be lower, ROI will be higher and you can acquire credibility among users, which you won`t be able to get using PPC.
In order to choose the best strategy, you need to establish your exact objectives and make sure they are realistic and achievable. After that, it is important to understand exactly what are the differences between the concepts to see which one can help you fulfill your objectives.