SEO and SEM – Differences and Benefits

paid advertising | 17 October 2012 Reading Time: 2 minutes

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a set of techniques implemented on a website to improve its visibility through natural terms. It help search engines find your website easily and thus provides you higher ranking. SEO revolves around keywords or phrases. The concept of SEO remains proper use and placement of keywords, targeting all those keywords that are being searched in major search engines, and obtaining backlinks from other sites to improve your website/company reputation. The better optimization done, the better is the reputation of your website or company, and thus more is the number of visitors getting to your site.

What is SEM?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. It basically is a kind of Internet marketing done to increase SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) through paid means. This includes Pay Per Click (PPC) wherein keywords are bid to drive traffic to your website. Sometimes SEO is also counted in SEM as certain optimization processes of SEO focuses on improving website ranking and driving traffic through organic means. Hence, SEM can be seen as a broader term with SEO and PPC being part of it. SEM evaluates both paid search results (via Adwords) as well as natural search results to account its success.

What’s the difference between the two: SEO and SEM?

Many a times people gets confuse between SEO and SEM. Although both the term sound similar, there is huge difference between them. Either of them has their own benefits and limitations. Since SEO focuses on improving website visibility and crawling, search engines finds your site easily and brings it to potential customers in search results. On the other hand, SEM goes beyond the network of SEO and apart from better ranking and visibility, its intention being driving traffic to website through organic means by advertising on other websites or through pay per click campaign.

Which one of them is beneficial: SEO or SEM?

Both of them stands ahead depending on the situation and needs. If your budget is intact and would like to build your brand then SEO is for you. With proper keyword selection and placement and quality backlinks, one can easily gain trust and attention of visitors. Moreover, if you are into an online business this becomes mandatory for you. Apart from that, it is cost effective. You don’t have to invest much on SEO. With limited budget, one can easily go with SEO for longer period.

On the contrary, SEM becomes important where branding as well as visitors driving to your site is important. If investment is of no worries and you are shorter at time and would like to see traffic driving to your website instantly, then SEM is for you. If your website is new, competition is higher, but still wants some conversion; then SEM will be the right choice for you.

So depending upon your requirements, competition and budget, you can make the right choice for your website and online business!

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