When a business wants to improve their internet presence, they should compare  SEO vs SEM . Knowing what the two terms mean is a start, but understanding what they can do for a business’s online presence is even greater. Often these two can be compared with a very simple analogy everyone understands SEO is like buying a house where SEM is very similar to renting a house.

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. Portals like Google, Bing and Yahoo have results that are based upon the relativity to the consumer’s request. It is a natural or organic way to get traffic to a website when a consumer uses one of these search engines. The goal of any business that has an internet presence is to be in the top ranking or at least on the first page of the returned results.

SEM stands for search engine marketing. This is the alternative to SEO where as one buys a placement on the page even though they do not rank organically. This is also called PPC or Pay-Per-Click and often viewed as an alternative to SEO.

Looking at SEO vs SEM, there are some clear differences. Search engine optimization is really the key to the success of many websites, their ranking on Google, Bing and Yahoo, and the amount of traffic that is sent to the site daily. Engines like Google use algorithms to help determine the relevancy of a website when it pertains to the consumer’s request. These algorithms are revised regularly and it takes great SEO practices to help keep up with the every changing internet climate. Some of the things that SEO does vs SEM are look at the content of the web page. Words matter when it comes to the various search engines. Title tags also need to be considered because they are part of the equation. The engine will look at the links between other web pages, and the words or keywords that are used on those linked pages. Reputation is also part of the equation. That coincides with having relevant and engaging content on all pages on a site. This is because these are all part of the algorithm that Google, Yahoo and Bing use to retrieve results. Often when SEO is directly compared against and SEM campaign, the SEO campaign wins. Most people are not desensitized and understand the PPC area of a search engine are ads.

Even though both may seem profitable for any online presence, reviewing some basics between SEO vs SEM can help determine which would best suite a company’s needs. The benefits to search engine optimization are that the results last far longer when they are organic. Once the desired result has been achieved, it makes it harder for the competition to gain an advantage very quickly. Users tend to find organic results more reliable, and therefore use those websites over the competition. Also, when comparing the cost per visitor between SEO vs SEM, SEO typically costs significantly less over the life of the service, even if the initial investment is more than using SEM techniques. Utilizing search engine marketing can achieve results much faster and cost less initially than search engine optimization, but significant tracking needs to be done to ensure the return on investment. Additionally, there are some ‘algorithmic-like’ qualities with SEM in the form of Google’s quality score. Although a completely different animal than the ranking algorithm, it does force advertise to come up with the best possible experience for visitors, and rewards the behavior with a lower cost per click. When Google or other engines alter their algorithms, SEM is not affected by it, and it is easy to increase the strategy behind it.

Often if faced with an either or decision SEO is usually the better route to take however blending both SEO and SEM actually leads to a better conversion for the website and the question is should it be really SEO vs. SEM or is it more SEO and SEM. Either way it requires a digital marketing agency that knows how both ends of the s work so they can build the best possible online presence for the business.

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