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SEO vs SEM: How Do They Work Together?

Posted: June 30, 2020 at 10:17 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

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Despite having different meanings, SEO and SEM are often used interchangeably, which can lead to a high level of confusion. So, what’s the main difference between these two digital marketing terms?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a digital marketing strategy that aims to increase website visitors by ensuring that a site appears or ranks high on results brought in by a search engine based on a user’s search.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing), on the other hand, is a set of internet marketing strategies that aim to boost a site’s visibility both through organic strategies like SEO and inorganic tactics like a paid advertisement. Therefore, in digital marketing, SEO is a subset of SEM.

Read on as we discuss the features, similarities, and differences of SEO and SEM, and how they work together in the highly competitive field of internet marketing.

What Is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is an organic form of digital marketing targeted towards increasing the quality and quantity of traffic on a particular website. SEO is targeted towards attracting clients interested in the product being sold on a website. Proper SEO strategies will help a site rank highly on the search engine result pages (SERPS), meaning more people get to view your site.

Since Google and other search engines are constantly changing their algorithms, you’ll need to update your SEO tactics to secure a high ranking on the SERPS.

What Is SEM?

Despite comprising different forms of digital marketing strategies, SEM is commonly known for its inclination towards a paid advertisement. Advertisers usually bid on content-specific keywords that search engine users might key in when looking to purchase products or services. Paying for ads allows your site to appear next to the relevant search term, thus advertising your particular product or service.

The pay-per-click ads come in several formats. You can choose to purchase text-based ads or opt for the more exhaustive Product Listing Ads (PLAs). It all depends on your marketing strategies and the type of outcomes you want.

The Differences Between SEO and SEM

SEO Is Unpaid Marketing

With SEO, you don’t have to set up an advertising budget. Provided you optimize your site well by using strategic keywords and building a solid link profile, Google’s crawlers will give preference to your site.

When dealing with SEO, you must ensure that your site has top-notch content that adds value to the person keying in the query. SEM is mostly a paid marketing where you bid for keywords to have your website advertised or placed next to the keywords keyed in by a user.

SEM Is The Umbrella For Internet Marketing Strategies

SEM is a term used to define strategies that aim to boost a site’s online performance by bringing in intentional clients. It is a powerful tool that involves several strategies like Social Media Marketing (SMM) that are geared towards increasing site visitors. SEO is a subset of SEM, and primarily involves strategies that bring in organic traffic.

A marketer’s effort when it comes to SEO is mainly to create content that is Google-crawler friendly, thus helping the site to become easily discoverable by the crawlers, which translates to a higher ranking on the particular keyword.

How Do SEO And SEM Work Together?

Marketing a site is anything but easy, from the high level of keyword competition to the ever-changing algorithms, ranking high requires hard work and dedication.

Now that we have defined these two often confusing terms and discussed their differences, let’s take a quick look at their compatibility, how can they work together?

SEO Foundation Is Important For SEM To Work

Before you start thinking of potential ways to market your site through paid ads, it is integral to have a solid SEO foundation. Think in terms of keywords, are you using the right keywords? Are your keywords answering potential queries? The site should also have a simplistic interface that allows search engine spiders to crawl.

Once your site is well optimized for the search engine, you can now bring in the big guns and start working on the commercial aspect of SEM.

SEO complements SEM

Paying for ads without having a properly optimized site will not have the desired effect. Remember, we buy ads to increase site traffic and click-through rate and consequently convert the prospects into clients. Therefore, SEM makes SEO efforts more effective. With so many website owners competing for organic traffic, buying ads, and integrating other digital marketing strategies can make your SEO efforts worthwhile.

SEM Increases Click Through Rate And SEO Reduces Bounce Rate

SEM will drive clients to your site through strategic advertising efforts, but SEO will help reduce the bounce rate. A low bounce rate is ideal and attractive for Google’s crawling spiders. Your site’s ranking will increase if Google identifies it as an authority in a particular keyword or query.

Good SEO tactics will help keep visitors glued to your site, which is why you should consider investing in quality link building services. Quality links signal Google that other authorities trust your website, which helps you rank higher, especially as you increase the number of backlinks to your site.

Paying for advertisements will help you get those potential clients; however, it is good SEO practices that’ll keep visitors on your site.

Final Takeaway

Increasing your site’s rank is not easy. SEO and SEM tactics keep evolving as Google changes its algorithms, meaning you’ll need to learn more about these concepts to stay ahead of the curve.

Remember, before thinking about investing in paid advertisements, you should ensure that your SEO is on point to reduce the bounce rate. A high bounce rate will negatively affect your rank as Google’s bots favor sites with low bounce rates. Building quality links and creating informative content will help you rank as an authority and attract organic traffic.

Combining SEO and SEM will take your marketing strategies to the next level. Not only will you boost your traffic due to increased click-through rates, but you’ll also retain the clients on your page, thus allowing you to convert prospects into clients.

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