Know the differences between SEO and SEM to make proper use of the tools

When we hear some similar sounding marketing terms, it makes us feel that these mean the same thing, which actually is not the case. For example, we often speak about search engine optimisation or SEO and search engine marketing or SEM in the same breath and even use the terms interchangeably, but you should know that these are entirely different from one another. Generally, all SEO strategies have parts of SEM built into it, but the converse is not true. However, there are exceptions to it that only prove the rule.

In this article, we will discuss both SEO and SEM with the purpose of identifying the traits of these marketing strategies and tactics that should help to distinguish between the two.

What is SEO?

SEO consists of the fundamental methods of online marketing that focus on driving traffic to websites in an organic manner without involving in any paid means. SEO revolves around search engines and relies heavily on search rankings which are the gateway for driving organic traffic to websites. It relies heavily on content for creating viewer engagement as well as impressing search engines about the excellent quality of the site that facilitates earning higher ranks in search results.

Optimizing content for keywords that come up during searches is an established method in SEO for gaining visibility. When people search for the keywords in the content, search engines follow the keywords and fish out the content for presenting to viewers, and when someone clicks on it, you get the traffic you are looking for.

The secret of success in SEO is to master the skills for making websites earn good ranks in search results and know how to influence searchers to make them click on the link that takes them to your site. This is the opinion of the experts at Grapefruit SEO Agency.

What is SEM?

It will not be wrong to say that SEM begins where SEO ends. That will be clear when you know how SEM works. Search engine marketing aims to improve search rankings that you have earned with the help of SEO. In this respect, SEM gives more strength to SEO by bettering the search ranks. However, SEM is a broad term that includes different marketing tactics, and it is a mistake to consider it as one specific tactic because this is where people tend to confuse it with SEO. Remember that although some people look upon paid searches as the only SEM tactic, there are other tactics too that are part of the marketing technique.

From the above, one thing becomes clear that SEO focuses on organically doing everything whereas SEM relies on generating paid traffic. Although Google prefers organic traffic, it does not discourage paid traffic which is the reason why SEM exists.

The sponsored ads that appear in search results are typical examples of search engine marketing.  The similarity between SEO and SEM is evident in sponsored ads because both are keyword driven and even the manner of driving traffic is the same, i.e. traffic originates from the SERP.

The scope of SEO

Although SEO is capable of generating commercial gains for marketers and is the purpose of using it, you cannot use any commercial means for promoting SEO. Whatever you do for promoting SEO have to be completely free from any monetary influences, and you have to follow Google guidelines for building organic traffic that helps to earn revenue for your business.

SEO is the most powerful marketing tool that businesses of all types and sizes can use, and its popularity stems from the efficiencies in providing results. Since the majority of consumers refer to online searches before making any purchasing decision, every business can gain from it.

Businesses can gain immensely by implementing SEO that also helps in establishing brands and creating a band of loyal customers that add value to the business and makes it grow.

 SEO strategies and tactics

Any SEO tactic has optimisation at its heart. When you are doing on-page optimisation, your focus is on optimising content for gaining maximum visibility in search results. Keyword research and creating high-quality content are crucial on-page optimisation strategies. When you are carrying out a backlink building campaign, it is part of your off-page optimisation strategy. Backlinks help to increase domain authority and improve search rankings.

The scope of SEM

SEM is a form of internet marketingwith some traits similar to SEO but completely different in application. While the philosophy of SEO is to target organic traffic, SEM is the tool for generating paid traffic. However, both the methods of marketing help to improve search rankings.

PPC or pay per click advertising is the most prominent SEM method that drives traffic to websites.  Even editorial content initiatives and CPC or cost per click campaigns are also part of SEM. PPC ads appear as sponsored links in the search results page above the organic listing and are prominently visible thereby enhancing the chances of viewers clicking on it first. This method of advertising gives ample opportunities of targeting the intent behind the searches and providing better user experience by using appropriate keywords and relevant content.

PPC is attractive because you need not make any down payment. Instead, you have to pay whenever someone clicks on the ad.  It is an assured way of making payment against results.

Guidelines for SEM campaign

Create the most relevant advertisement copy and include target keywords in it. For maximising the use of target keywords, create different ad groups with keyword variations and create targeted ads for specific audience based on factors like demographics and location. Monitor the campaign metrics to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign and make ongoing changes to make it more effective.

When creating your digital marketing strategy, try to make use of the options available to maximise ROI for which it must be a mix of both SEO and SEM. There is no right or wrong way of doing it, but all depends on your understanding of the subject that ensures proper implementation and gives the desired results.

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