Differences Between SEO and SEM
If you’re trying to break out into the Internet marketing scene, you’ve probably come across a variety of different terms. This makes sense: as the business scene continues to develop, new terms and new uses of language become necessary to describe techniques and activities that have not always existed. That’s why it’s crucial to use clear and precise language when describing your activities, plans, and actions. One example of this comes in the form of two of the arguably most popular terms in Internet marketing, whose names are almost identical except for the last term, and those terms are SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Let’s dive into the differences between these terms, as it’s important to get a handle on the fine distinctions if you want to make a name for yourself in the Las Vegas Internet marketing or digital marketing scene!
Search Engine Optimization
This is probably the better-known of the two, referring to the act of gaining traffic from search engines using editorial or organic methods of editing your content. That’s why this technique, almost by its nature or definition, is constantly evolving and changing to keep up with different search engine’s inner workings and algorithms. The main idea behind Search Engine Optimization is that if you carefully tailor your content, it will appear more attractive to different search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Therefore, your website will be listed higher on the search engine’s results page, where most people are more likely to click on the first few links that appear than scroll all the way to the bottom, much less move on to the second or third page of the search engine’s results page.
There are two main sectors of Search Engine Optimization, called on-site or off-site. On-site Search Engine Optimization includes high loading speeds, page URLs and titles fitted with target keywords, well-written content containing those keywords, and optimized meta data. Meta data includes the meta description, heading tags, image ALT tags, and more, and all should be using similar keywords. Another important factor of this on-site Search Engine Optimization is social sharing, meaning that you have links to outside sources incorporated into your content. Additionally, it is a good idea to link to other pages within your own website, and to include the links of any business partners that might link back to you on their own website. However, off-site Search Engine Optimization includes things that are not incorporated directly into the content and foundation of your website. For example, social media accounts are a great way to drive traffic towards your website. Additionally, if another website such as Reddit mentions the name of your company, even without a link, it will make your website appear more reputable and reliable to those search engines. On a similar note, another factor that will drive traffic towards your website is simply putting out high-quality content that people naturally are attracted to, use often, and share with other users.
Search Engine Marketing
This technique involves making your website more visible by buying paid advertisements. Search engines can host banners, images, and other advertisements that link directly to your website. These are sometimes referred to as paid-per-click ads, cost-per-click ads, and other nicknames, but the idea is the same. The benefit of paid search advertising is that your website will be advertised on the specific search engine result page that corresponds to the user’s search terms, even if your website is ranked or listed somewhat low on the page, giving your website more visibility and credibility. There are many different examples of Search Engine Marketing types, even though it might sound like a pretty straightforward concept. For example, writing specific ad copy using relevant keywords is a smart way optimize the ad, as is creating specific ad campaigns targeted at specific audiences.
Is One Better Than the Other?
It’s hard to say for sure whether Search Engine Optimization or Marketing is the more effective technique, so it’s best to use them both to their fullest extent and be aware of the different qualities of both. For instance, Search Engine Optimization is virtually free of cost, while Search Engine Marketing requires planning, designing some ads, and budgeting. If your website is very new, it will appear less credible to search engines, so some paid marketing is probably necessary to establish some visibility to start off with.
As you can see, it’s not true that Search Engine Marketing is some kind of umbrella term that encompasses Search Engine Optimization, but rather they have two distinct meanings. Search Engine Marketing refers only to paid search techniques, where the advertiser uses money to purchase ad space, while Search Engine Optimization uses content-based techniques to make your website appear more attractive to search engines. Each one has their own value in your digital marketing tool belt, but it’s important to know the differences between them so that you can use them both correctly.