Marketing has significantly evolved over the last decade. There has been a huge rise in a number of options available to the businesses for marketing their products and services. However, the rise in options has also led to growing complexity in the marketing jargon. Many terms have been introduced which can be very confusing for young businesses. It has been seen that many marketers are also confused about the correct meaning and usage of the terms. One such example of terms is SEO and SEM.
Search Engine Optimization is basically a part of the SEM or Search Engine Marketing. SEO basically refers to the process by which a website or an online business maximizes the number of visitors by making sure that the rank of the site is high in the list of results which are returned by the search engine. A huge part of SEO of your website will also involve creating superior, high-quality content which will be very useful for your target audience. Thus, gradually the organic traffic of your website is increased. The Google Algorithm is changing very frequently, which has also pushed the SEO industry to keep pace with it. Despite these changes, one aspect of SEO remains the same that it is made up of on-page and off-page activities. It is these tactics which confirm that your landing pages, blogs, and even web copies are properly optimized for search.
Search Engine Marketing is a type of marketing undertaken on the internet which involves promoting websites by making an apparent increase in their visibility in SERPs or Search Engine Result Pages by optimization and advertising. SEM incorporates various tactics of SEO and many other search marketing tactics. SEM also comprises usage of paid search like pay per click (PPC) advertisements. Many other terms are also employed for a paid search like cost per click, paid search advertising. The advertisements under PPC are usually reflected on SERPs next to various organic listings thereby increasing the visibility of the web pages of your online business. SEM, thus particularly includes PPC campaigns and activities. Some examples of SEM activities include:
The most important feature of the traffic generated by SEM is that it is targeted. It is a known fact that search engines are used by people when they look for solutions to various problems or are looking for answers to some specific questions. It has been noticed over time that when searches end up in clicking a particular site from the search results in they’re a probability of conversion rises. It is the degree of relevancy of various search results and advertisements which enhances the usability of SEM traffic in comparison to other sources. Giants like Facebook and Twitter are also constantly pushing hard for optimization of their advertising platforms for utilizing the targeted traffic but it is already proven that the traffic which is generated from search engines has much more ROI.
The basic difference between SEO and SEM is that search engine optimization is a part of the search engine marketing. SEM also includes many parts of paid search like PPC and SMM or social media marketing. It thus means that although the basic purpose remains the same, these terms cannot be used interchangeably as they have a fundamental difference which cannot be ignored. SEM is an umbrella term and is usually used for paid search while SEO is used for the organic search.
Thus, after going through the above you can make a more informed decision about the choice of your marketing strategy. You need to know in depth what is the extent of competition in your industry and how far are you prepared to dive in terms of marketing considering the budgetary limits. You may also want to see the strategies which are being used by your competitors, like what kind of search terms are they getting them their organic ranks, or what terms are they using to get traffic. You need to weigh your long-term goals and underlying vision when making the final decision. You may select both SEO and SEM for better and lasting results which will directly place you above your competitors who are only using only one of these.