SEO vs SEM – Terms and Differences

If you’ve ever owned a website you have heard these terms quite a bit, but when it comes to SEO vs SEM what are the differences? Billions of people use the internet everyday. As a matter of fact nearly every part of the world is connected through the internet. Businesses have already figured out that if they do not have a web presence they will have a hard time increasing their profits. The fact is that millions of potential clients are available on the internet and a business organization must know how to reach them. There are two proven methods that clients can use to reach out to people on the web. They include Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

SEO and SEM marketing methods serve the purpose of increasing awareness on the internet. When a business, organization, agency, group or person wants to increase their visibility on the web they will sooner or later have to rely on SEO and SEM techniques. While both of these techniques are not the only way to increase brand recognition and web traffic to sites and pages; they are two very important elements for this particular practice. The following information will explain how both of these marketing techniques work and how important they are to the success of a web page or site. Let’s take a look more closely at SEO vs SEM.

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing

The first contender in SEO vs SEM is Search Engine Marketing. SEM is necessary for attracting attention, gaining new customers and amassing inbound links back to a website. This method is primarily carried out through paid activities such as affiliate marketing and placing ads on various high traffic sites all over the web. People can also buy traffic through paid search engine. SEM is also referred to as search marketing and it sometimes can be used to describe SEM and SEO methods, practices and terms.

How does SEM Work?

Search marketing is a form of online positioning that maximizes the visibility of websites by researching, submitting and positioning these portals. Methods such as SEO, keyword research, paid listings and competitive analysis is used to increase traffic to sites. Other activities such as website saturation, back end tools and analysis can also be used for this purpose. When sights start to pick up momentum and gain more hits they start to gain more recognition and popularity. Once this happens they start to gain a better position in search engine ranking. This too can also be used for SEM purposes.

Paid inclusion is another SEM method that requires a business or person to pay a search engine company to up their position within their search engine. This method is practical for businesses that can afford to pay to have their websites positioned high up on search rankings. This method is not practical for people who have very little money to continuously maintain a high position for search engines.

Individuals and businesses that use this method will usually have to pay a monthly fee to have their website categorized in a specific position. This type of SEM technique has very little to do with a website’s popularity or relevance and has more to do with economic positioning. This method will allow just about anyone who has the money to put their search listing at the top of rankings; even if it is only for a short period of time.

Who can benefit from SEM Practices?

Any person with a website can benefit from SEM practices. The reality is that very few businesses or people will be able to come onto the internet and make their selves known to the public. Unless they have some type of effective media campaign, an overnight sensation or are a nationally (internationally) recognized personality; most people will not even know they exist at all.

Believe it or not there are famous and successful national (international) music stars, athletes and actors who are not recognized by many people. The internet has become so diverse and so large that many people will never come across a certain website, video or a particular webpage. Most businesses that do not have a national (international) advertising campaign are going to have to work really hard to build up a web presence from scratch. Again, the problem is that very few people know that they exist. Ultimately, SEM will assist organizations and individuals with marketing techniques that will help them to reach out to the public to find potential clients.

What is SEO?

SEO recicle arrows

Search Engine Optimization

Next up in the SEO vs SEM bout is Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a technique that is designed to increase a website’s position within search rankings and to bring traffic to a page. SEO focuses on earning traffic through unpaid or free listings. This method of internet page ranking and marketing is categorized as a subset of SEM and is also referred to as “search marketing”.

How is SEO Performed?

SEO techniques are carried out by using links to a website or page, writing articles that have been SEO optimized and by posting ads that carry web viewers back to sites. Content curing, linking with authority sites and building a web presence on the major social networks are also used for this process. Email campaigns, blogging and keyword optimization. All of these methods are used to help a website to gain an identity and recognition on the internet.

Comparing SEM to SEO

Once again, SEM is a broad umbrella that covers SEO page ranking and marketing techniques. SEM is way more in-depth than SEO and it uses more specialization to accomplish its goal. SEM is a better fit for businesses and organizations, groups and individuals who want to gain a presence on the web. People who have a personal website or a page that does not necessarily need a lot of attention will benefit from SEO methods. However, some businesses and high profile individuals can increase their web presence by only using SEO techniques.

Keep in mind that if a webpage is really popular or appeals to a lot of people it will eventually catch on to others. Word-of-mouth is still a proven method for gaining recognition. Also, a business, organization or individual must present a high quality approach to their site and they must be knowledgeable or likeable about the product, service or subject that they are presenting. The bottom line is that a person could be using the best SEM and SEO techniques and still come up on the short end with gaining profits or recognition simply because people will eventually tell if someone is the real thing or not.

Even though there are playful references to the battle of SEO vs SEM they are not competitive practices. Ultimately, they are both one and the same. If a business, organization or website wants to be successful on the web they will eventually have to use one of these two techniques to maintain a web presence over time.