SEO & SEM Difference

How to Know SEO & SEM Difference. Here’s how – DLI

Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) can be a confusing concept to grasp. Is there even a difference between them? Both terms are often used interchangeably, which makes matters even worse. It is important to understand SEO & SEM Difference.


SEM – an online marketing strategy that involves getting traffic, paid and unpaid, from search engines. According to Wikipedia, SEM is “a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through optimization and advertising.”


SEO – a means of optimizing your website so that you get organic (free) traffic from search engines. According to the Google Knowledge Graph, SEO is “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.”


SEO is essentially a component of the larger category, SEM. One aspect of search engine marketing is SEO. However, SEM goes beyond SEO to include paid traffic.


What components does SEO include?

On-Page SEO:

  • Incorporating selective keyword naturally into title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, alt text, etc.
  • Blog posts and page copy that is written and optimized for quality
  • Clean and formatting page URLS
  • Optimized page load speed
  • Google authorship incorporated
  • Social sharing integration within your content


Off-Page SEO:

  • Creating a high quality, natural backlink profile (aka having other high qualities/authoritative sites link to your site naturally)
  • Social sharing signals
  • Social bookmarking (Stumbleupon, Reddit, Digg, Delicious)


What components does SEM include?

Other than search engine optimization, 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 optimization 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 & SEM interchangeably 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. However, we believe that organic SEO is the best approach, but as you can see, true SEM cannot succeed without the use of organic SEO.


Additionally, there are many situations where PPC (a component of SEM) makes more sense than SEO. For example, if you are first launching a site and you want immediate visibility, it is a good idea to create a PPC campaign because it takes less time than SEO, but it would be unwise to strictly work with PPC and not even touch search engine optimization.


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.


In conclusion…


When it comes to choosing the best tactic, it is important to evaluate your specific needs, but be sure to fully understand the differences and how you will maintain your efforts.


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