We know that there are many marketing terms that can be confusing and hard to understand. That is definitely the case with SEO and SEM. These two are often used as one, and it’s a mistake. Knowing the difference will make your promotional activities so much more professional and mindful. The combination of both can definitely give you a competitive advantage in your niche.
But first, let us explain what is what.
SEO vs. SEM – What’s the difference?
To find out what distinguishes these two from each other, we have to decode the abbreviations. SEO stands for search engine optimization, while SEM means search engine marketing. The first option is free and based on organic traffic. We do everything to drive the audience to our website by making it visible and liked by the search engine’s algorithm with different methods that don’t require financial investments. For example, we adjust our code to be SEO-friendly, add alt text to images, use keywords in our content, write meta descriptions and make sure our URLs look clean and simple.
SEM, on the other hand, is focused on paid actions, mostly ads. We create campaigns to promote our website, add them to the Google Ads panel and pay for every click we get. That’s why it is also called PPC (pay per click) sometimes. It is not easy to create successful ads, and that’s why SEM knowledge is priceless. Usually, it starts with keyword research and competition analysis, so we can determine what our potential audience is looking for. There are several types of SEM including search ads, shopping ads, YouTube ads, and Gmail ads.
Which one is better – SEO or SEM?
Actually, it is better to use both. Especially if you know what you’re doing, or you have a marketing agency to collaborate with. Why? Because both can provide different results and support your business goals in the long run. Also, these two complement each other to make your marketing strategy top-notch.
For example, collecting statistics from Google Ads while running an SEM campaign can be perfect to boost your SEO efforts. And the other way around – if your SEO game is on point, SEM can make it even more fruitful. Also, if you are ambitious, you can conquer more search engine result pages by optimizing your website and paying for ads.
Deciding which one will be the main foundation of your online marketing plan depends on many factors. First, you have to analyze your goals and think about what you want to achieve. Take a closer look at your current statistics, too. They will tell you what you have to work on and what is doing great. Think about your potential customer – their needs and pains. Maybe they don’t like paid ads because they feel it’s solicitation? Or maybe it’s really hard to find your company because you operate in a very tight niche? All these things have to be taken into consideration when deciding on SEO and SEM strategy.
If you feel like it’s too much, you can always ask for help. There are agencies like Fabryka Marketingu (https://www.fabrykamarketingu.com/white-label-seo/) that take care of all paid and unpaid search engine matters to make your website reach the top and find your future customers.