Search optimization has become so important these days especially for new businesses. It is a crucial part of every company’s Digital Marketing strategy. Every site needs traffic to survive in the business. And these search optimization tactics brings that needed traffic on the site. In this article I will be discussing with you about two search optimization techniques; SEM and SEO and how SEM is different from SEO.

Before seeing the differences let’s get to the basics

What is Search Marketing?

Search Marketing is related with techniques that helps a business get necessary attention to appear on the search engine results page. The purpose of this technique is to increase the visibility in the searches, draw more traffic to the website and eventually enhance the ranking of the website.

Search Marketing is categorized in two types:

  1. SEM : Search Engine Marketing. It uses paid strategies to appear more in the searches.
  2. SEO: Search Engine Optimization. It does not use any paid strategy and rely on organic flow of the traffic.

What is SEM?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. It is a part of search marketing which uses paid strategies to increase the visibility of the site in the search engine results page. Businesses use it as a short term strategy as it shows fast results.

This strategy is commonly cited as paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It does not use any paid tactics and follow general practices to draw organic traffic to the site. In SEO, companies don’t pay for placements in search engine results page. Businesses use it as long term strategy as it takes time to show results.

How SEM is different from SEO

SEM is different from SEO

Now let’s see how these synonymous looking terms are different from each other. How SEM is different from SEO?

➽ Target audience  

SEM search results are visible to a targeted audience. SEM strategy is there only to make the site visible to the target audience. Though both SEM and SEO are planned out in such a way that it gets more visible to the target audience. However, only SEM can do it effectively, SEM allows search engine to show their site to the targeted audience while SEO can not do such thing. Through SEM you can choose the audience you want to show your site to based on age, location , gender etc but it is not possible through SEO.

➽ Time taken to produce results

SEM allows you to purposely put the search results in front of your audiences in just couple of clicks. The moment you let the campaign set in motion, the ad starts to appear in the search engine results page. You can increase the visibility of ads and you can turn the ads off as well. In short, the results starts to show shortly in SEM.

On the other side, SEO takes a lot of time to produce results. It can take months sometimes carry out SEO tactic before the website starts to rank on search engines.

➽ ‘Ad’ designation

The search results of SEM strategy has an ‘ad’ icon on top of it. While SEO does not have such thing.  The search results of SEO does not have any ‘ad’ icon on top of it.

SEM search results may include ad extensions which features some add on links like contact number, while SEO results does not have such a feature.

➽ Paid clicks

It is well known the SEM results are paid. Whenever a visitor clicks on your site on the search results your company is charged some amount. So basically you are paying for each click on the search result. On the other hand, when a visitor click on an organic search result then you do not pay anything.

➽ Value addition

If we see the value addition, then SEM does not add any value to the search result in the long run. It is a short term tactic. As SEM results are paid, the moment you turn off the ads, SEM will stop working. On the other hand, SEO adds value to your strategy in the long run. As we know that SEO takes time to show results. But its results are totally organic and authentic. They lasts for longer time.

To wrap up

We saw how SEM is different from SEO. There is no sure shot choice between the two. Both of them plays their part really well. If you want some short term solution to enhance your ranking then go for SEM and if you can wait for your site to rank higher then go for SEO. The best way out is to make a well-balanced combination of these two. That way you will get immediate results as well as long term benefits. Rest I leave up to you.

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Apoorva : I am a writing geek and a bookaholic who is exploring different genres of writing. Currently writing about Information technology, digital Marketing, SEO, latest technology & marketing trends. I am always curious to learn new things so I can enhance my knowledge. I like to maintain authenticity and originality in my writing. I assure my readers that I will try my best to produce the finest content for them.