SEO and SEM Similarities, Differences, and Benefits

SEO and SEM are terms related to the world of marketing and search engines. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization while SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. Both of these terms have similarities and differences. When used correctly, they can both benefit your company.

At Portside Marketing in Dallas, Texas we have extensive experience with both terms. Our professional staff works with SEO and other technologies to help provide the best service possible to our clients. We also enjoy educating our customers and future customers about the benefits of all services. We’ve collected some information on both SEO and SEM and compiled it here for easy reference.

What are SEO and SEM?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a content technique that optimizes your website to rise to the top of search engine rankings. When done correctly, SEO practices can increase traffic to your website through organic searches on websites such as Google. SEO techniques are incorporated into how the article is written as well as how it is posted. The ultimate goal is to end up on the first page of search results. Most people click on these results first to find what they’re looking for.

SEM, or search engine marketing, is a term applied to paid searches. Paid searches are also known as pay-per-click or cost-per-click. While search engine optimization focuses primarily on enhancing your content by using organic keywords, SEM is a strategy that focuses more on the paid search side of things. The two terms are both similar, and different.

Similarities and Differences between SEO and SEM

Both SEO and SEM can increase traffic and therefore customers to your website. Some companies will focus on just one of these two strategies and see measurable success. These strategies often have similar goals of increasing the reach, traffic, and customers that visit your website. The differences start to arise when we examine the process and cost of each method.

SEO strategies, though effective, can be slower to show results than SEM strategies. However, SEM techniques are often much more costly. Both methods focus on different factors to influence search engine performance to your website’s benefit. However, neither method directly affects the other.

Many companies choose to use both search engine optimization and search engine marketing to cover all of their bases. SEO covers the organic search results side of things by improving search results through Google, Bing, and other search engines. SEM focuses on prominent add placement that encourages search engine users to visit your website. Both options can return positive results at different costs.

The big cost behind SEM strategies is a bidding system that allows the highest-paying advertiser access to the best ad placement. Then, each time a customer clicks on an ad, the company is charged a fee. This is beneficial because of the results that it produces. However, you pay for the convenience of getting the clicks regardless of customer action.

SEO is typically less expensive. However, it takes more time and effort. It isn’t as quick-acting as SEM. There’s also a noticeable difference when it comes to changing campaigns. It’s much easier to change a SEM campaign than a SEO campaign due to the extra research and effort required.

SEO and SEM Expectations

Knowing the primary differences between search engine optimization and search engine marketing strategies helps you understand what to expect from each method. You wouldn’t want to implement a SEO campaign expecting fast results. You also wouldn’t want to implement a SEM campaign and expect long term results without significant spending. The beauty of both plans is that they complement each other nicely. When used together correctly they can fill in the gaps that are created by the other. SEM is great for helping you establish your brand and SEO is great once your brand has been established.

If you are in need of a lot of traffic in a short amount of time due to a special or a sale, then a short term SEM campaign is the way to go. However, if you’re looking to boost your webpage in search rankings long term then an effective SEO campaign is what you’re looking for.

Both methods are effective in different ways. It’s important to establish both long term and short term goals when implementing any marketing strategy. This allows you to see which methods are working the best for your company. You also want to consider your budget and ensure that you are utilizing it appropriately. An SEM plan will provide quick results at a cost, but may not deliver the long term results you are looking for. An SEO plan will deliver long term results but may fall short of your expectations regarding turnaround time.

Hiring a company that is experienced in both SEO and SEM strategies can help you develop the best mix for your company. An experienced company will be able to create and implement strategies for one or both methods with your best interests in mind.

Call Portside Marketing in Dallas, Texas at (972) 979-9316 to find out more about SEM and SEO.