In the world of content creation for websites, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are often used interchangeably. Defining SEO and SEM and showing differences and similarities will clarify for readers how both work together for effective web marketing.
SEO and SEM Defined
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be defined as the art of using targeted keywords, phrases, and searches in order to increase rank and ratings for websites on meta search engines such as Bing, Google, or Yahoo. In the SEO world, the higher the visibility, the more traffic a website will get, which will lead to more clients. Coding, content creation, HTML, indexing, linking, and search engines are used in SEO. The term SEO was first used in 1997.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) can be defined as the art of increasing visibility to websites through advertising (Google AdSense is an example) or natural searches, which are part of (SEO), on meta search engines. In essence, SEO is part of SEM, although the SEM was first used three years later, in 2000.
SEO versus SEM
What are the differences of SEO and SEM? SEO uses organic or natural searches for users to find a website, while SEM uses advertising, marketing, and promotions through pay-per-click features and stickiness. That is, when a user clicks on an advertisement on a website, the owner of the website gets paid, and the marketer gets free advertising. SEO is a specific part of SEM; SEM involves more facets of advertising, profits, and promotion. SEO is involved with organic searches, and building awareness and a client base usually takes longer, SEM is involved with advertising, and therefore has more immediate results.
SEO and SEM Similarities
What are the similarities between SEO and SEM? On a very basic level, both have commonality as they are both used for the purpose of increasing visibility and trust on a website in order to increase business. SEO and SEM are interwoven, as SEO is needed alongside advertising for SEM, but SEM is not imperative for SEO. Organic searches, stability, and trust-building to establish a successful website is needed initially (SEO), before advertising, marketing, and promotions can be used (SEM). Additionally, SEO and SEM contain shared terminology, and basically speak a similar language.
Although average consumers may not notice or understand the definitions, differences, and similarities between SEO (Search Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing), they are inadvertently-or perhaps consciously-engaging with both from the moment of internet access.