SEO VS. SEM

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can understandably, be quite confusing to anyone who isn’t overly familiar with marketing jargon. SEO and SEM are both vital aspects of the ever-evolving online marketing, assisting both exclusively online businesses and local businesses’ online presence in different ways. Let’s take a closer look into what defines and differentiates each term.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation – A process which involves techniques to improve a website ranking and drive a greater amount of free, organic traffic to a website.

SEO is essentially a branch of the SEM tree. There are two main categories to SEO, on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO mainly includes the things you can physically see and change like content, keywords, grammar, punctuation, formatting, page load speed. Off-page SEO refers to the ‘back end’ of the website which includes getting ‘votes’ or ‘referrals’ from other websites. These back-links create credibility for your webpage. Off-page SEO includes things like back-links (one of our top 3 SEO strategies) and social signals ( social media and web pages collective likes, shares, retweets, from sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc).

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing – A process which involves strategies to help gain traffic to a website using paid, purchased ads via search engines like google. SEO is included in SEM, along with many other search engine marketing techniques.

Search engine marketing is recognised mainly as pay-per-click (PPC). This means that you are only paying for the clicks on your specific ads, not just ad exposure in general. The benefit of SEM is that the marketing and advertising techniques can be targeted to users by many factors including: demographic, geographic location, household income, nationality, relationship status etc. This opens many doors in terms of creating campaigns to target specific audiences and users for a more precise marketing strategy.

So Which One Is Better?

The main difference between SEO and SEM is that SEO is merely a component of SEM. SEO can be viewed as an organic, free search tool whereas SEM is exclusively a paid search tool. Now which one works best for your marketing strategy? Unfortunately, that question will not produce a simple black and white answer. Each business will be different and the advertising wants and needs should be tailored to each specific situation. It is easy to say that you get what you pay for by using SEM. However, smaller businesses may have a smaller budget and not have the resources, knowledge or experience necessary to get your best ROI. A clear, goal-orientated plan is the foundation to build an effective, successful online marketing strategy.

The team at Nicoh will help tailor a solution to your specific situation. We spend the time to assess your current situation, consider your goals, vision and aspirations and a deliver an honest opinion on what it will take to help your business thrive, moving forward.

Not too sure about where to begin with your marketing strategy? Contact the digital solutions experts at Nicoh today!

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