SEO vs SEM: Know The Right Choice For Your Business


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If you own an online business, it is imperative to have a digital marketing strategy. Both SEO and SEM provide a great opportunity for your business to grow. They help your customers to find you and bring in more sales.

SEO and SEM are often used interchangeably. That makes it difficult to understand the difference between the two.

The purpose of both the strategies is same, to bring more traffic to your website.

But both are not the same and it is vital to have a clear understanding of both SEO and SEM.

In this article, we will try to clear all the doubts you can have and make sure you end up with a clear understanding of these concepts.

Let’s start with SEO First.

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization.

A better definition would be it’s a practice of optimizing your web pages to make them reach on top of the search results of Search Engines such as Google, Bing, etc.

What to consider in SEO?

For doing SEO, you should consider:

  1. Your content should be effective in both attracting the search engines and helping your organization make connections with site visitors.
  2. Another important point to consider while creating your content is to keep SEO keywords and phrases in mind that a user might type in the search engine to get results.

Types of SEO

  • On-Page SEO: This goes a bit technical and if you have some knowledge of HTML, PHP, etc, you can work on On-Page SEO elements. You can optimize title tags, meta descriptions, sub-headings, and internal links in your code/content which will help.
  • Off-Page SEO: Apart from On-Page SEO factors, we have Off-Page SEO factors as well like Trust, Links, and Social signals. For example, Google determines trust if your website has backlinks from the sites that have authority.

Benefits: How SEO can help your business?

  1. The main strategy of SEO is to bring quality traffic to your website. Note, that the higher the ranking on the search engine, the higher the trust users will have in you.
  2. It tends to provide visibility to your site for relevant searches through organic (non-paid) methods.
  3. A higher ranking of your website in search results will help in gathering user attention and an increase in sales.
  4. With SEO, you get a better conversion rate. Since SEO helps you rank for what your target customers are searching for, you get visitors who are ready to purchase your products and services.
  5. It builds brand awareness. SEO is the reason why internet users will see you more. Hence, enhancing your brand awareness even further.

If you are not sure how to do SEO for your website, you can hire an SEO expert or company to do it for you.

Loud Speaker provides the best and result-oriented SEO services. Our experts will help you optimize the business or eCommerce website(s) as per the optimal search engine standards.

With the right strategy, we will help you not just appear on top of Google search results but get more traffic and convert it into sales. Ultimately, helping you increase your ROI from your website.

We also provide SEM services. Let’s have a look at how it can help your business.

What is SEM?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing.

It is a form of digital marketing strategy that increases the visibility of the website on search engine results pages (SERPs) using both organic SEO and paid advertising.

With SEM, brands pay for ads to appear on the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

It will cost you money but at the same time will help you get better results.

You might have heard about paid search ads and paid advertising.

One such good example is Google Ads. You can run and manage ads on Google via Google Adwords.

Some common terminologies used in SEM are:

  • Impressions — It is the total number of times your ad appears on the search engine when someone searches for a particular query.
  • CPC (cost-per-click) — It is the amount that you pay every time a user clicks on your ads on search engine results.
  • CPM (Cost per thousand impressions) — In this, you pay for every thousand impressions that your advertisement gets from the search results. Usually used in running display ads.
  • CTR (click-through rate) — CTR is the ratio of the number of clicks to the number of impressions your ad got from search engine results.

Benefits: How SEM can help your business?

  1. Fast visibility of your products: SEM will help you to reach your customers as soon as possible. It brings the fastest visibility of your products and services to the customers.
  2. Increases brand awareness: Paid search ads help a lot in increasing brand awareness as they are mostly on top of the Google search results. SEM exposes the brand name in the ad’s headlines, description, display URL, or extension links.
  3. Manageable: Google ads for instance are easy to manage and very quick to create. You can run and stop your ads as you wish. You can easily set up a budget and performance speed on your paid search ads.
  4. Boost Internet traffic: It increases internet traffic on your website by providing the most popular keyword used for your business. With the help of that, your site will be visible to the right audience and increase your sales.

Difference between SEO and SEM

If we go through the definitions of SEO and SEM, we might find them alike. But they are different and are varied approaches to marketing.

Both rely on keywords to direct traffic toward the website but work differently.

Comparing SEO and SEM:

  • SEM is the digital media strategy that attracts a huge audience in a short span of time whereas, with SEO, it will take time.
  • The appearance of the search results is also different. SEM search results may include ad extensions that might add other links or phone numbers whereas SEO search results may appear with featured snippets.
  • Each time a user clicks on SEM results your brand must pay whereas in SEO you have to pay nothing for the same click.
  • Through SEM, you can select your target audience but through SEO you do not get to choose.
  • SEM results are quick, and they are in front of the audience with just a few clicks whereas SEO takes a lot more time.

SEO vs SEM: Which one is better for your business?

Well, we can’t say one is better than the other. Both have their pros and cons.

The end results of both are the same, providing visibility and traffic to your website on the search engine results.

Results of SEM paid ads are immediate and you tend to be on the top of the search list in less than a month whereas SEO can take months to put your brand on the top of the search results.

So, if you are looking forward to acquiring a lot of leads or sales as quickly as possible and money is not an issue for you, go with an SEM marketing strategy. It will help you popularise your brand.

If you are short of money, SEO is cost-efficient.

You don’t have to pay for the results you get. Hence, SEO is better in that case.

So, we can say if your budget is low and you are patient enough to win the race slowly and steadily then you must turn to SEO.

To Highlight, both strategies can also go hand in hand to provide the best of both worlds and you can reap the benefits of the couple.

You might like to read how SEO is beneficial for small businesses.

Picture of Rohit Sharma
Hi, my name is Rohit. I am a blogger, content creator, and founder of Loud Speaker digital marketing agency. Professionally, I do SEO, SMM, digital marketing, and web development. In my free time, I like to indulge myself in gaming and working out.

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