Difference Between SEO and SEM Jessica Benedict April 7, 2021

Difference Between SEO and SEM


Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and SEO + SEM are two vital pieces in this industry that can help your business gain more exposure. So, what’s the difference between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? How do they work together? And which should you invest in for your business? Keep reading to answer all these questions and to learn more about these two practices.

Google accounts for approximately 75% of all global desktop search traffic, followed by Bing at 9.97%, Baidu at 9.34%, and Yahoo at 2.77%.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (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. When you utilize SEO in your website and blog, it can help you get found online through the top search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These techniques help improve a website’s Search Engine Results Page. When it comes to SEO, there are two types you should know about: on-page and off-page.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO includes using keywords correctly throughout your web pages, including title tags, H1 through H4 tags, URL structure, alt tags on images, among a host of other practices. On-page SEO is called “on-page” because the tweaks and changes you make to optimize your website can be seen by visitors on your page. Incorporating keywords properly and posting blogs with quality, sharable content that can rank easily, are examples of important on-page SEO practices.

 Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO on the other hand, is taken outside of a website to improve its search engine rankings. Off-page SEO builds your site’s authority and reputation through other high-quality websites. Techniques include link building, local listings, directory profiles, and forums. In short, off-page SEO has to do with promotion methods, going beyond website design for the purpose of ranking a website higher in the search results.

What is SEM?

Search engine marketing is the process of driving traffic to your website using paid online advertising. In short, you pay Google for Google AdWords for your content to show up first driving more awareness and traffic. You may have heard of Pay Per Click or PPC. Today, the cost of AdWords and paid campaigns has gone up significantly with the search engines due to the overload in the market.

Why SEM and SEO Are Important

SEM has many benefits, not only does it cover SEO, but it extends to your business’s entire online presence in the search results.

When implemented correctly, strong SEM can:

  • Increase leads to your website
  • Increase visitors to physical locations
  • Increase online visibility
  • Offer precise targeting
  • Provide trackable and measurable analytics
  • Target users based on search intent

The reason why SEO is vital to implement in your website or blog is because ranking higher in organic search results establish your brand credibility in the eyes of your potential clients. When establishing a strong SEO practice in your content, makes your customers aware that you are the most experienced in your industry and you have gained success organically.

These SEO practices are critical because all the time you put into generating great content and optimizing your site improves the usability of your site, and this creates a seamless and positive customer experience. SEO can help a business accomplish a number of goals, including ones involving brand awareness, traffic, conversions, customer experience, and much more. It is vital for digital marketers to fully understand this practice and integrate it accordingly to become successful in their craft and grow their business.

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