Often wrongly used interchangeably, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two different marketing channels that businesses can use to reach their target audiences on search engines like Google and Bing.
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What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be understood in four ways. Technical SEO focuses on improving the technical structure of a website and looks at improving site speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability, structured data, security, and indexing.
On-page SEO is all about optimizing factors on the web page that clearly help search engines understand the content in context, including things like title and meta tag optimization, image alt tags, etc.
Content SEO is one of Google’s main ranking factors, and without great content that properly matches the searcher intent, you will struggle to rank in top spots. But content goes way beyond just copywriting, and there needs to be a solid strategy in place.Off-page SEO is authority building, encompassing link building, and other tactics. This approach focuses on improving the trustworthiness and authority of a website in search engines’ eyes and its users by connecting it to other high authority and relevant sites.
What is SEM?
Search Engine Marketing is a strategy using paid tactics to gain visibility on the search engines. It is also known as PPC (pay-per-click). As opposed to using tactics that help a website rank organically, SEM uses PPC advertising platforms like Google Ads and Bing Ads to use the available ad formats to reach your target audience.
And, as a tactic, it involves everything from setting up and optimizing paid ads, to managing the account to increase conversions and returns.SEMs will usually begin a campaign with comprehensive keyword research and competitor insights to create targeted campaigns that place their products and services in front of a target audience.
Differences between SEO &SEM
The difference between these two is simple to understand. SEO is an approach that uses organic methods to appear in search results.SEM is an approach that uses paid methods to appear in search results inorganically.
With SEM, an advertiser pays every single time the user makes a click on an ad (CPC – cost-per-click) or for CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) depending on the type of campaign created. Yet, they pay nothing when a user clicks on an organic listing that ranked due to SEO.
Combining SEO and SEM
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential tactic for brands that want to drive website traffic and grow their online visibility. SEO can be a rather tricky strategy to manage if you do not know how to compare or combine it with Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
Arguably, they both sound like the same thing. But these are two very different approaches to becoming visible on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
With SEO, marketers optimize their websites by working through technical SEO, on-page SEO, content creation, and off-page SEO to create the best result for a particular query that deserves to rank at the top of Google.
The reality is that, for most businesses, a successful search strategy should see you integrating both SEO and SEM. When you combine SEO and SEM, you can integrate the channels.
Use data insights from your SEM strategy to supercharge your SEO approach, including gaining valuable insights into expected conversion rates, performance at a keyword level, estimates around traffic opportunities, and more. In this respect, think of SEM as a testing-bed for SEO.
SEO efforts work harder by creating remarketing campaigns as part of your SEM strategy to reach those that previously didn’t convert into customers. You can target them with search ads, display ads, and more.You can take over the SERPs by combining these two tactics, and make sure you are visible both in the ads space and organic listings.
At Interics, we evolve a robust strategy with an optimal mix of digital tactics to capture interest, build trust and lead prospects to the sales funnel. We optimise your website for SEO, leverage paid and organic social, and use content marketing to build thought leadership.