The Difference between SEO and SEM
SEO is a part of SEM. That is the basic and most fundamental difference between the two.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is the practice of driving targeted traffic to a specific website through search engines.
There are two fundamental ways to get search engine traffic:
- Optimize your website in a manner that it appears as results for certain search queries. It is known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
- Pay search engines to display your website’s text advertisements (sponsored lists in SERPs) in response to certain queries. It is known as PPC advertising or Search Advertising.
SEM is the combination of Search Engine Optimization and Search Advertising (PPC).
As internet marketing hits the speed ignition, and marketers go full plunge for getting their content out there in the market, the methods available to make content visible have become varied.
While some companies balance their SEM budgets by allotting equal resources to both SEO and PPC, others focus more on either one of them in the beginning. The overall SEM strategy should always be chosen in accordance with the following:
- Are you looking at the long term goals or do you need to promote a certain offer in short term?
- What kind of ROI are you expecting? Is the ROI high for each conversion or is it low?
- Are you looking at high volume traffic or low volume but highly targeted traffic?
- Are you operating in a saturated market? Is it a highly niche product or service you are offering?
Answers to these questions provide critical insights on how we plan the overall SEM (just SEO, PPC or both) campaign for a client.