SEO vs SEM What’s The Difference? & Which One Should You Use


Are you new to digital marketing? Or are you guilty of using acronyms and jargons such as CTR, CPC and PPC that leave your co-workers and clients confused? Understanding complex jargons in this industry can be challenging. Two often misused terms are SEO and SEM. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can be confusing concepts to get your head around. While they work hand-in-hand, they do not actually mean the same thing. In this video we will look into what both of these concepts are and explain the differences.

What is SEO and SEM?

  • SEO refers to the optimisation of your content for user search intent. It’s the process of developing high quality content and user experience to allow users get information they need as easily and quickly as possible.
  • SEM, on the other hand, involves more paid search strategies. While SEO is responsible for organic tactics to build credibility, increase your website rankings and click-through rate performance, SEM focuses on attracting traffic through paid advertising on search engines.

So you may wonder – how do they work together

Both organic and paid search requires extensive keyword research to capture traffic. Moreover, both SEO and SEM require ongoing tracking and optimisation to inform future investments.

Understanding user behaviour while unifying elements such as load time, mobile accessibility and quality content can ensure both SEO and SEM tactics achieve your desired goals.

So, you could say that SEM and SEO are like fish and chips. They work better together. Running an SEM campaign without SEO might not take your business far. Running an SEO campaign without any investments in SEM will take more time and may lack the traffic it needs to remain competitive.

But, is one better than the other? You may ask.

Yes, depending on your priorities and goals.

If keeping your inbound customers is your business’ priority, then organic SEO may be the best approach. If your goal is to raise awareness about a new product, then SEM might be the right choice. Remember that successful SEM is hard to achieve without the use of organic SEO. That said, if you’re a startup with an innovative product or service people might even know exists yet, you might need to primarily focus on SEM while also implementing SEO.

Wrap up:

It is crucial to identify your needs and goals for your business before choosing the most suitable strategy, be it SEO or SEM. A strong understanding of the differences and how you maintain your efforts would prove useful before you embark on your next marketing campaign. If you need more help in choosing your digital marketing strategy focus, watch our video on understanding consumer behaviour to benefit SEO [link to vid 5]. Good luck!


One thought on "SEO vs SEM What’s The Difference? & Which One Should You Use"

  1. sitegeek infotech says:

    Hi, This is very helpful and your post are always best, informative, provides excellence information.
    Great work I like your post. Thanks

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