In the last few years, almost all industries have started adopting digital marketing techniques. The recent boom in online marketing has encouraged businesses to promote it on Google advertisements and also, get a place in its searches. Digital marketing has become an attractive skill set and can be studied under two categories: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). These two marketing channels are often confused with each other. SEM is a broader domain which comprises of SEO and many other marketing techniques for search engines.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the marketing technique in which the number of viewers of a website is increased by a large margin in order to make the site appear on top of the results’ list of any search engine. Some basic SEO procedures include the optimization of servers, using appropriate and relevant page titles and meta descriptions, identification of keywords and creating engaging content. By following these procedures, a site allows its user to find relevant material and resources he/she is looking for. It also encourages the initial website visitors to convert into full-paying customers by appearing on top of search engine results. This cycle has to be repeated over time for improving the rankings and gaining an upper-hand over the competitors.
What is SEM?
On the other hand, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to the marketing techniques in which websites are promoted by improving their rankings in the results of a search engine using optimization and advertising methods. The five most common SEM strategies are paid search methods such as pay-per-click, local listings on search engines, displaying hyper-targeted paid ads, remarketing and product advertising. For instance, the ads appearing on top or off-side Google’s search results page are a part of SEM. Once the ads start getting viewers, reports can be made about their performance accordingly.
Major Differences Between the Two
SEO comprises marketing techniques that increase the number of website visitors by making it appear high on results given by a search engine, while SEM is a form of digital marketing that enhances the visibility of a website by analyzing results from organic search engines and promoting the products. Some of the major differences between SEM and SEO are as below:
- Techniques involve traffic cost while SEO does not involve any sort of money exchange.
- Comprises of both, inbound and outbound marketing while SEO is confined to inbound marketing only.
- Takes into account short-term as well as long-term results. SEO only utilizes results gathered over a long period.
- Targets industry and locality. Contrarily, SEM targets the demographic results obtained from the search engines.
To decide which technique is most suitable, it is essential to analyze the requirements of a product’s marketing and comprehend the effectiveness of either technique for that product or website. If a company has an only online presence, a combination of both will work. It can display brand advertisements and pay-per-click ads to make it more visible to interested viewers. However, if a company has an established website, it should focus on increasing the traffic more.