You’ve probably heard talk about digital marketing strategies SEO and SEM. You don’t ask these people to explain what they’re talking about because you don’t want to sound uninformed. 

A modern business of any sort needs a website. Otherwise, it won’t be able to survive. You can’t stop there and expect the website to do all the work for you. 

You need to take active steps to increase traffic. This is why you need to consider search engine optimization and search engine marketing. 

You want people to find your business online, right? Below we’ll take a look at SEO vs SEM and how you should use both to boost your online visibility. 

What’s Digital Marketing? 

Digital marketing is the means by which you connect with customers online. This has become a lucrative realm in business, as more people spend time online. 

Digital marketing includes various digital tactics, all with the same goal: promoting your brand or product. You need to be able to consistently communicate your brand across all media platforms you choose. 

Next, we’ll take a look at two important aspects of digital marketing: SEO and SEM. 

SEO vs SEM: What’s the Difference 

SEO and SEM are both integral components of a digital marketing strategy. They’re used to grab online users’ attention, grow traffic, and ultimately grow your business. 

The two terms are often used interchangeably. Both are digital marketing tactics used to improve appearance on a search engine results page. While they do relate to each other in a very intimate way, there are some key differences. 

Search Engine Optimization 

Search Engine Optimization is the means by which a company gains free, natural, and organic web traffic from the SERP. The goal is to get your site as high as possible on the SERP. 

SEO must continually change, as search engines like Google make frequent changes to algorithms. 

SEO consists of two main aspects: on-site and off-site SEO. 

On-site SEO is the means by which you ensure your website is search engine friendly. This means the following: 

  • Selective keywords integrated into titles, meta descriptions, headings, page copy, blog posts, and more 
  • Optimized page load speeds 
  • Optimized page URLs 
  • Social sharing integration 

Off-site SEO, on the other hand, is the process by which other sites build trust in your own. This includes the following: 

  • Building a sufficient backlink profile (other authoritative sites link to your site naturally)
  • Social sharing signals 
  • Social bookmarking 

SEO is largely about creating quality content on your website. This means blog posts and page copy. This content should be useful and relevant to your target customers’ web searches. 

Search Engine Marketing 

While SEO is a means by which you gain free and organic traffic, SEM consists of paid advertisements on search engines. These ads are often referred to as pay-per-click ads. 

PPC ads give your customers the opportunity to find your content and website. They appear in the SERP next to organic search results. 

SEM includes many of the same tactics as SEO. The key difference is that SEM utilizes paid advertising to increase visibility on the SERP. 

There are a variety of different SEM platforms, but a good SEM platform should include the following: 

  • Writing quality and relevant copy using selective keywords
  • Ad groups with keyword variations 
  • Ad campaigns to target specific demographics 
  • A comprehensive ad budget 

SEM is particularly useful for a new business who has little following. Using paid SEM tactics will give you an opportunity to build organic traffic using SEO. 

Which is Better? 

It’s hard to say whether SEO or SEM is better than the other. Some people will tell you SEO is better because it builds an organic following. Some will say SEM is better because it allows you to build immediate visibility. 

In reality, these two components rely on each other.

Importance of SEM Over SEO 

Launching a new business is stressful and comes with many unanswered questions. Will you be able to build a following to sustain your business? SEM allows you to create the immediate visibility your business needs. 

Some will argue SEM is more important because it’s more targeted. Ads and copy should be relevant to searches. Otherwise, searchers won’t trust your site. 

Importance of SEO Over SEM

However, SEM relies heavily on SEO tactics. For example, if you do not use selective keywords to create high-quality content, your business could suffer. 

Creating quality content is essential to creating an effective digital marketing campaign. Imagine clicking on a website from the SERP and finding an outdated website full of spelling and grammar errors. 

You’re less likely to trust this site and less likely to view the services it offers. 

Digital Marketing Goes Beyond SEO and SEM 

SEO and SEM are just a small portion of your overall digital marketing campaign. However, these two aspects are essential to your campaign. 

In addition to these two aspects, you’ll need to consider how your website appears on mobile devices, social media, and so much more. 

This is a constantly changing field, and it pays to stay informed. When you launch a digital marketing campaign, you should take steps to find out what your customers are searching. 

There are programs you can use to track where your traffic comes from and the demographics. Do your research and find out which tactics you should use to enhance your visibility and reputation. 

Get an SEO Audit 

If you’re planning to launch a digital marketing campaign, you’ll need a good place to start. You can’t simply write content for your website and expect the traffic to appear. It takes planning and effort. 

You might wish to hire an external agency to help you manage your digital marketing campaign. This takes some of the strain off your internal business affairs. 

Interested in finding out more about SEO vs SEM? We can help your business gain traffic and improve search engine rankings. Contact us today to get a complimentary SEO audit.