What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

It is easy to get confused on the difference. Both are core areas of the search marketing industry and often work together to target the ideal customer. To define the two in a simple way:

  • SEO or Search Engine Optimization: An approach that uses organic methods to appear in search results or getting traffic from those organic search results
  • SEM or Search Engine Marketing- An approach that uses paid methods to appear in search results or to get traffic and visibility

SEO and SEM are similar in that they Both perform the following:

  • Improve the visibility of your website on the search engines (i.e., Google), and both methods will help your site show in the SERPs (search engine result page) using targeting and optimizing for keywords.
  • Drive a higher amount of relevant and quality traffic to your site. Both strategies encourage users to click through to your site
  • Help you gain a deeper understanding of your audience. You need to have a good understanding of your audience for both strategies to be successful and using organic is a great way to help you define for no cost
  • Use keyword research to discover and target relevant keywords. Both require keyword research to understand what your competition is targeting.
  • Require ongoing testing and optimization. Both require continuous monitoring and tweaking to be successful long-term and deliver a solid return on investment
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