Posted on Fri 22 Oct, 2021

SEO vs SEM: Which One is Best for Your Business?


Although they might sound like the same thing, there are numerous differences between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The two terms can be confusing for businesses that want to reach a  larger target audience and improve their site’s visibility. The article will cover the basics of SEO and SEM and how it differs.

What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a catchphrase for all the activities that help improve your search ranking in search engines such as Google and Bing with organic results through the use of keywords.  An important strategy in digital marketing, SEO helps businesses to improve their online and website traffic.

The Benefits of SEO

SEO is cost-effective

Search Engine Optimization is an effective way to attract a more targeted market without paying for it.

SEO increases the organic and high-quality traffic

SEO attracts organic traffic to your site. It improves the visibility of a website, making it more attractive to the search engines which then push more users your way.

SEO builds on better trust to customers

Search engine optimization is about improving your website but also your website's credibility to potential visitors and customers. 

SEO is a long-term marketing strategy

SEO will not result in quick and easy success but it is a long-term marketing strategy; it can continue to attract traffic to your website for months after you publish. 

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing refers to the marketing activity that promotes a website using paid advertising to increase online visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs). SEM utilises pay per click advertising on search engine result pages.

The Benefits of SEM

SEM is Paid per Click

SEM is a paid search engine marketing where advertisers pay each time a potential customer clicks on their link.  

SEM instantly reaches your audience

SEM campaigns are designed to target certain keywords on search engines. Using SEM can be a good alternative for those looking to get found quickly.

SEM increases traffic through Ad visibility

SEM is an advertising technique used to bring more traffic to your website by placing ads on search engines. s

Chance to Appear On Competitors’ Related Keywords 

Appearing on the search engine when customers input your competitors’ keywords is one of the most coveted benefits to Search Engine Marketing. This will, of course, lead to increased traffic and better conversion for your site.

SEO or SEM? So Which One is Right for Your Business?

Answer is... It depends! SEO and SEM are both important marketing strategies.

“What marketing goals are you trying to achieve?" 

While both SEO and SEM help to bring in targeted traffic, SEO is a long-term strategy while SEM is a short-term one. The goal of SEM is to get visitors to click directly on your ad, while SEO works best for branding. 

These two have been proven successful over the years, but they do come with their own strength and weaknesses. So again, it all comes down to what is best for your business. SEM is a great shortcut to greater traffic, even if you’re yet to launch. But it can only rely on your active campaign. So then, you need SEO to back it up.

On the other hand, you could also have a well-optimized site—the best keywords and a perfect structure—with SEO. But SEM gives you paid results, increased exposure and increased traffic without having to work up a sweat.

Keep in mind, if both of these strategies are implemented correctly, it puts your business at the top of the game!


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