SEO and SEM are actually two sides of the same coin, but they have different actions and relate to different aspects of marketing.
So, what are the differences between Search Engine Optimization(SEO) and Search Engine Marketing(SEM)? How do they work?
Any digital marketer should know their importance in the marketing field.
What is SEO and How Does it Work?
Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is a process by which search engines “crawl” our contents to see how effective it will be to attract users to our websites. Google Crawler will assess a number of things in our website such as keywords, link titles, tags, etc,) and rank it so that we get organic traffic based on a those factors.
Some things that crawlers/ Search Engines look for are:
- Quality Content: Having great contents means that our website is good. Crawlers reads our contents and give the ranking accordingly.
- User Experience: Crawlers also check whether our website is designed for users to have a frictionless experience? It also check whether our website is fast and easy to navigate?
- Link Patterns: Whether our website have a backlinking from an authority sites? Where are our inbound links coming from?
Even though you have learn the basics of SEO, still can contribute it into their marketing, digital sales and content strategy. And when you become an Expert, it’s sure to bring in more traffic to your websites. But learning SEO takes some time and technical knowledge. So, it’s a good to consider hiring an SEO expert if you are really looking to make your website bring in conversions.
You should keep in mind that SEO, takes a long time for Google to recognize and reward your site especially, if your site is brand new.
What is SEM and How Does it Work?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a paid search advertising. SEM helps us to rank on the top of a Search Engine Result Page(SERP) in the form of Ads. Actually Google charge the amount from the advertisers when the users click on their Ads.
Some of the examples of SEM-based advertising activities are:
- Targeted ads campaign
- Writing very selective keywords
- Using key performance indicators such as Click-Through-Rates(CTR) and Cost-Per-Click(CPC) for our future advertising activities
Doing our SEM in an appropriate way, leads you to get on the top of the rankings. This involves targeting well and spending some time designing your ads.
SEM is great for brand awareness as it means that you will be at the top of the list whenever someone searches for products / services related to your business. That’s why SEM is a great way to bring right traffic to your website.
The drawbacks of SEM are that we need to have some extra practical knowledge with tools such as Google AdSense. If you’re not good at this, you will probably need to hire someone who is expertise in web marketing and ad campaigns and makes it worthy.
What Are the Differences Between SEO and SEM?
When we talk about SEO and SEM differences, we’re really just talking about different approaches to advertising.
SEO is sometimes used as an umbrella term that includes SEM, but because SEM refers strictly to paid advertising, they are actually separate. SEM is about getting traffic via paid ads, and SEO is more about acquiring, monitoring and analyzing organic (unpaid) traffic patterns.
How are SEO and SEM Complementary?
SEO and SEM both heavily rely on keywords to drive traffic to business websites and web pages. Though the marketing techniques used for each are different, they are both focused on traffic flows and how these relate to marketing activities. People will use search engines to search for something that they’re looking for, and they’ll be able to find it by the organic results (SEO) or by the paid results (SEM).
Most people search online before buying anything so having a strong presence in search is crucial and using a strategic combination of both can boost your visibility in the long term.
SEO is for organic traffic – so that’s unpaid or free listings, and SEM is for targeted ads that you pay for. They can be complementary but only if the website itself is SEO-friendly first, then SEM has a greater chance of being successful.
SEO is the foundation for good SEM and when you have each set up properly, you have a better chance of getting high-quality traffic and improving conversion rates. Once you have an SEO-friendly site and sponsored ads that are targeted properly using the right keywords, you have more chance of showing up at the top of paid searches. But you have to have your SEO in place in order for Google to see you as a credible website
If your website is on the newer side, you can prioritize your PPC campaign first as it can take a while for SEO rankings to become established, but don’t ignore your SEO during this process.
SEO and SEM: Future Directions
SEO and SEM will continue to shift as major search engines are continually changing their parameters for rankings. For this reason, it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen but here are some likely directions.
- UX (user experience) will continue to become more important to SEO. This is a current trend and one that makes sense given that Google wants to reward the most user-friendly sites.
- Google’s Accelerated Mobile Project (AMP) will gain even more popularity. AMP is a collaboration between developers and other industry professionals to create a massive open source library that offers users more opportunity to create quick and smooth mobile-friendly web pages. This is one area where we’ll be seeing the death of slow-loading pages that rank low. The use of AMP has resulted in huge increases in mobile searches and traffic from major publications such as the Washington Post and Slate.
- AI will become more and more involved in SEO and other search activities, especially as the Internet of Things becomes more and more prominent. This will change the nature of searches but allow us to create more targeted ads for SEM.
- Everything will become more data-focused and therefore it will be easier to create targeted, personalized campaigns. But because of this, users will also be increasingly concerned about privacy.
Anyone looking towards a career in digital marketing should have a good grasp not only on how SEO and SEM function in today’s current digital atmosphere, but they should be looking to how both will change as we become more and more reliant on technology. Having a solid grasp of how each of these are involved in digital marketing campaigns will be especially crucial in the digital marketplace in the coming years.
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