Search Marketing News & Views from Our Man on the Street

What’s the Difference Between SEM and SEO?

A lot of people tend to confuse search engines marketing with local search engine optimization services. While the two do overlap in their theories, the key difference is that search engine optimization and search engines marketing fall under the umbrella of “search marketing,” which is the process of gaining web traffic and online visibility from search engines through efforts that are both paid and unpaid.

Here’s some handy info to help you understand the differences.

Search Engines Marketing. 
Search engines marketing buys traffic through paid search listings — plain and simple. There are several paid search engine marketing tools available to websites, such as CPC (cost-per-click) or PPC (pay-per-click) marketing. There was a time when search engines marketing was the umbrella term used to describe paid and unpaid searches, but over time, people eventually adopted “search marketing” for the sake of clarity.

Many argue that search engines marketing’s counterpart, search engine optimization, is superior. There are, however, several advantages of paid search marketing. First of all, it guarantees first page exposure on the top three search engines. While most people tend not to click on the ads, exposing so many new audiences to your company’s brand is still highly beneficial. Paid search engines marketing also produces immediate, consistent traffic to high-value target audiences. That means that the moment you launch a PPC campaign, your site quickly receives traffic and continues to receive traffic that can be easily converted from simple business leads to sales.

Search Engine Optimization. 
Natural search engine optimization (SEO) improves a site’s online visibility through by increasing its search engine rankings, specifically. This is unpaid, organic traffic.

Considering the fact that a majority of people (75%) don’t even scroll past the first page of search results, that means the other 150,000 results never see the light of day. What’s more, only the top few on that first page ever get clicked. Google’s first ranked result receives a whopping 18.2% of clicks. Second gets 10.1%. Third gets 7.2%, and fourth gets 4.8%. Any results after that only account for less than 2% of all click through traffic.

Online marketers do SEO using a number of different tactics, or search engine optimizers. There are some nitty-gritty, technical ways to do SEO, such as incorporating keywords into metadata, redesigning a site with responsive web design, and more. There are on-page factors, like content, HTML, and architecture, and there are off-page factors, like links, trust, social and personal. SEO uses tactics that take these factors into account and use them to get a site’s search ranking where it needs to be to get those higher click through rates.

Search engines marketing and search engine optimization each need to be used if a business hopes to make any money through the Internet. Of course, it really all begins with an effective website, so make sure you start off with a good site.  If you have any questions or need to discuss basic web design for your business, feel free to contact us.