When was the last time you searched for something on Google? Visualize what happened. The text you entered into the search bar is a “search query”, directing you to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). To gain more traffic on your website, you should rank higher on the SERP. But do you know how Google decides that who gets the higher placement? This is where Search Marketing does its magic.
Search Marketing is an umbrella term for SEO and SEM. Do you want to see your business placed at a higher rank in SERP? Want to know which Search Marketing tool can work the best for you? SEM or SEO? How are they both different? Let’s dive into some details about how both of them are different!
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a part of Search Marketing that uses an Organic Approach to get placed higher on the SERP. Brands using SEO as their marketing strategy to rank high don’t pay for the placements on SERPs. To prompt search engines and to reach the top of SERPs, brands use a lot of tactics because the results are valuable and authoritative. Some of these tactics which are white hated are;
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Technical SEO
What sounds like the Best SEO Plan? Combining these strategies can be an option.
What is SEM?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the part of Search Marketing that uses Paid Approaches to get higher ranks on SERPs. SEM Strategy involves these necessary activities.
- Setting up Ads
- Optimizing the Ads
- Setting a Budget for the placement of the Ads
SEM is often referred to as Pay per Click (PPC). The brand uses the best target keywords of their industry provided by Google Ads. Users searching for these keywords see those custom made ads, and every time they click on your ad, you pay for it.
How are they different?
The main difference between SEO and SEM is of Organic and Paid. But are these two words interchangeable? A big NO!
Ignoring the fact that both of them perform the same task, they are different in many other terms too. Let’s see how we can differentiate them.
- In terms of Search Results – Placements made through SEM are marked as an “Ad destination” on SERPs, but there is no such mark on placements made through SEO.
- Specific Visibility – SEM, in this case, gives you an edge. You can specify that who can see you in their search results. Whereas, through SEO, you have certain limitations to do so.
- Acquired Time – SEO being an organic strategy takes a bit of time to give the best results. While for SEM, it’s different. You get your results immediately. But remember, slow and steady can win the race!
- Added Value – SEO adds value to your work over time and leaves lasting results. On the other hand, SEM works only when you pay for it. Your strategy will probably end up died out if you stop paying for it.
- Click-Through Rate (CTRs) – The organic search results have the highest CTRs, which means SEO is more likely going to outperform. But on the other hand, if you’re placed at the lower part of the SERP, SEM can still get you a high CTR.
Which is better for your Brand?
SEO and SEM, both work the best when used for the right industry. The only things you need to consider before choosing one of them are;
- Your Competitors – Consider a plan that can top their placements on SERPs. Get to know which keywords they’re using for organic placement and paid terms.
- Knowledge of your Target Audience – How well do you know your target audience? SEO can work like magic for you if you and your target audience share great values. But if you’re still in the phase of experimenting, SEM can be your best friend.
- Buying Cycle – Dealing with a target audience that takes a very long time to buy? Do they keep on thinking for days and months to buy what you offer? Don’t worry, SEO will work the best for them. If that’s not the case with your audience, they might be very cool to buy immediately? Act cooler, place an SEM ad ASAP.
SEO and SEM aren’t about gaming with Google to get placed at the top of SERPs. If SEM gives the best placement to one business, it doesn’t mean it will work the same way for you too. Maybe the only way to up your placement game is by using SEO? You never know what both of them have in store for you. To make sure you make a wise decision, hire some help from a Digital Marketing Agency and get to the top placements.