Organic vs. Paid: Understanding the Difference Between SEO and SEM

Organic vs. Paid: Understanding the Difference Between SEO and SEM

Posted by Dymic Digital
June 25, 2020 | SEO

Over 90% of all online activities start on a search engine like Google. By utilizing search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO), you can boost brand awareness and reach more customers.

Better yet, almost 15% of SEO-generated leads become sales.

Despite the benefits of search marketing, many people don’t know the difference between SEO and SEM. Do you?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about SEM and SEO.

What Exactly is SEM?

Search engine marketing, or SEM, includes multiple digital search engine marketing strategies. Actually, SEO falls under SEM.

Search engine marketing strategies include:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click (PPC)
  • Remarketing
  • Display advertising
  • Geotargeting
  • Shopping advertising

PPC ads display animations, videos, and text ads on search engines like Google and Bing. You can also create social media PPC ads on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Visual ads are a great way to attract someone’s eyes and direct them to your website.

Remarketing, on the other hand, allows you to display ads to people who have already visited your website. Using cookies, you can even determine which pages people have previously visited. Then, you can use personalized marketing tactics to create ads for specific buyers.

In order to create a strong SEM campaign, you’ll need to understand your target audience. The better you know your buyers, the more likely you can create ads that reflect their interests. You can also use precise targeting within your SEM platform to display ads to the prospects most likely to become buyers.

By focusing on your niche audience, you’re more likely to generate sales.

The Benefits of SEM

SEO can take time to generate results. SEM strategies like PPC, however, can generate results the day you create your campaigns.

About 45% of small businesses are already using PPC advertising. If you’re not, there’s a chance your competitors are taking all that business away.

One of the benefits of developing an SEM strategy is that you have complete control over your campaign settings. For starters, you can create a budget for your entire campaign. Then, you can control your spending even more by adjusting your bids.

With search engine marketing strategies like PPC, you’ll need to bid on your keywords. Bidding against your competitors will allow you to display your ads at the top of a search engine page. The higher your ads display, the more people will see them.

Sometimes, you need to reach the top of the page to make an impact. Consumers don’t always scroll to the bottom of a search page.

You can use SEM marketing to generate quick conversions and immediate sales.

Once you start gaining clicks and conversions, you can review the data to determine which tactics, ads, and keywords are generating results. Then, you can adjust your targeting parameters and ad language to optimize your campaigns.

What Exactly is SEO?

Search engine optimization allows you to boost your organic website pages and posts on search engines like Google. The higher you rank, the more brand awareness you’ll generate.

SEO can also help you generate website traffic to your content pages. You can then use your content to show consumers your experience and expertise. Then, you can develop brand credibility and trust to start generating sales.

A strong SEO strategy requires thorough audience and keyword research. If you don’t know what your customers are searching for (along with their search intent), you won’t reach them.

Attracting prospective customers to your website can help increase site engagement. The more people engage with your website, the better your ranking.

As with SEM, there are different forms of SEO.

For example, local SEO can help you focus on nearby prospects. Appearing for local searches can help you get more foot traffic into your store.

You’ll also need to consider your on-page and off-page SEO.

It can take time before your blog posts and website pages rank at the top of a search engine results page. Once you do reach the top of a page, however, you can generate awareness and recognition.

The Benefits of SEO

Search engine optimization is very cost-effective. However, it can take time. If you don’t think through your strategy, you might have a difficult time generating results.

Unlike SEM strategies, SEO tactics change over time. In fact, Google’s search engine algorithm changes every few months. You’ll need to keep track of those changes and trends in order to adjust your strategy.

SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. Once you start improving your ranking, you can keep attracting traffic to keep your ranking. Since it’s so cost-effective, it’s also a great way to improve your marketing ROI.

What’s the Difference?

Both SEM and SEO can help you boost brand awareness, gather leads, and generate sales. So what’s the difference between SEO and SEM?

Together, all SEM strategies beat social media by over 300% for driving traffic to content websites. In fact, search tactics are the number one driver of traffic for content sites.

The biggest difference between SEO and SEM is the cost. With SEO, you don’t have to pay to start creating content and posting it on your blog.

PPC, on the other hand, is exactly as it sounds: you pay per click on your ads. With that in mind, it’s important to have a strong strategy. Otherwise, you could end up wasting money on PPC campaigns without generating worthwhile leads.

Remember, SEO can take time. Most SEM strategies, on the other hand, are quick and easy to start. Once you create and post your ads, you can start generating clicks to your website.

It helps to use both SEO and SEM. Both help you attract website traffic, boost brand awareness, and help generate sales. Clicks on your PPC ads increase site traffic, which can even help your SEO rankings.

With both, you can boost your marketing ROI and generate more business.

Start Searching: What’s the Difference Between SEO and SEM

To recap, what’s the difference between SEO and SEM? SEO is a strategy that falls under SEM. Both allow you to attract customers to your website and boost sales.

However, it helps to have an expert opinion. By working with an SEM marketing agency, you can save valuable time and money. Interested in getting help before you start your campaigns?

Contact us today to get started!

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