What’s the Difference Between SEM and SEO?

What’s the Difference Between SEM and SEO?

If you’ve sat in on a marketing strategy meeting, you’ve probably heard the terms search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). While they may sound similar, SEM and SEO serve different purposes to help your business gain attention online. Here’s the difference between the two and why they are both important to your overall marketing strategy.

What is SEM?

SEM is the process of driving traffic to your site from different search engines either through organic or paid results. It involves several different tactics to achieve the goal of having people reach your website through a search. Pay-per-click is a paid SEM technique where a company pays for ads to appear in search engines. This is an instantaneous solution allowing your business to gain results in minutes. Organic SEM can take much longer, however, since it doesn’t guarantee a placed first-page result. 

A Breakdown of SEO

SEO is an organic tactic used in SEM. When you employ SEO techniques, you optimize your website to rank highly in non-paid search engine results. There are four main types of SEO to use: on-page, off-page, technical, and user interaction signals.

  1. On-page SEO focuses on building your website around keywords and phrases your customers search for on search engines. This involves putting this phrase in your title, meta description, and the page’s URL.
  2. Off-page SEO is slightly harder to achieve and focuses on gaining traffic signals from other websites. You may put backlinks to your site on other pages, for example.
  3. Technical SEO helps search engines process your website’s code for optimization and user access. This means setting up your website in an easy-to-scan manner with quickly loading pages.
  4. User interaction signals tell an engine how well your site interacts with your customers. If you have a high bounce rate, for instance, Google might rank you lower. 

So What is the Difference Between SEM and SEO

The main difference between SEM and SEO is SEO is a tactic used in your overall SEM strategy. Search engine marketing is higher level than SEO, and it also includes pay-per-click tactics. By knowing the difference, you can put your energy into SEO to improve overall SEM. 

For effective SEO results, partner with the SEM professionals at Think Integrated. For more information on our search engine marketing and optimization services, contact us today at 407-896-5757