Considering how prevalent the internet is, most people are familiar with websites and Google search results. If you are, then you may have heard of a term called SEO which is otherwise known as search engine optimization which is a great way to get traffic to your website by organic search results. Meaning that when someone searches on the internet, the organic content on a website communicates with Google to choose the best results based on your search. In professional terms, SEO is the practice of targeted traffic to a website from a search engines organic rankings. Higher rankings from previous traffic also tells Google that people are finding your site which will lead even more traffic to your website. This means technical and content practices, meaning that all of the content on your website is used for SEO as well as certain types of SEO that is added to the back end of the website. The most common places that SEO should be in quality content on the site and using specific keywords that would relate to many searches. SEO is all about making a site rank higher in the non-paid section of search results.
SEM, otherwise known as search engine marketing, and that is when you drive traffic to your site from search engines. You can do this organically or by paid results, or maybe both. SEM includes SEO and PPC, they are both types of SEM. PPC means pay-per-click advertising, which is a way of marketing your website by means of payment. SEM is something that everyone uses when making a website because it uses SEO as well as PPC which could drastically change your websites traffic. Although SEM includes PPC advertising which is instant, while SEO is much slower because it only goes off of keywords. SEM is very open when it comes to getting traffic, because you can do many things with it.
There are a couple key differences between SEO and SEM, when it comes to getting website traffic. The differences being targeting different search results, amount of time they take, and the overall cost. SEO and SEM generate different targeted search results, meaning that SEO’s ability to reach is limited because the results are based upon specific key words as well as quality website content. While SEM could target a much larger demographic due to the ability to advertise on many different searches to still lead traffic to your website even if the search isn’t too relevant to the PPC ad. SEO targets traffic by title tags, quality content, site speed, and more to get traffic. The next difference between SEO and SEM is the amount of time they take. Which could be instantly such as a PPC on the top of the search results. SEO will take longer to process by Google because Google algorithm needs to take your search then look at SEO to see which websites best fit you. While they both have the goal of making it to the top of the Google search results, SEM or better specifically a PPC would get you there faster than just SEO. Last difference is the cost comparison between the two, and that is exactly where PPC’s become uninteresting. While SEO does take a little effort to be satisfactory for Google, SEM ads would require a cost per engagement for pay-per-click. So when someone clicks on the ad, you then would pay Google for showing your website higher in the results. SEO in the long run will build content as time goes on and the more traffic you get, the more Google will push your website to new traffic.
All in all SEM is SEO, but SEO is not SEM and they both have certain purposes for certain website traffic goals. If you want to build your business gradually, SEO seems like it is much more beneficial in the long run. If your needs are much sooner than long term then consider paying for SEM ads and see what they can do for your website traffic. They both have the same goal of getting people to your site, they just do it a little different than each other.