SEO and SEM: What's the Difference?

SEO and SEM help businesses grow and thrive in a competitive online marketplace. But before you start get started, it helps to understand the differences between search engine optimization and search engine marketing and how each can benefit your business. 

SEO and SEM Explained

SEO is the process of generating traffic to a website or webpage through organic or "natural" search results. The goal is to be on the first page of results when someone uses a search engine, such as Google or Bing. The higher you rank, the better.

Some common SEO practices include:

In the past, SEM was used as an umbrella term for both SEO and paid search marketing. Today, the definition has narrowed to describe buying traffic through paid search listings only. SEM efforts include the following:

SEO or SEM: Which Should You Use?

When you are deciding which type of search marketing will best benefit your business, your first inclination might be to look at SEO versus SEM, not how they can both work together to produce maximum benefits.

SEM typically yields a faster return, but pay per click prices can rise, even on branded terms. Additionally, as soon as you stop putting money in, you lose your return immediately. With SEO, it can time to see results, but the out-of-pocket cost is typically lower, and the results continue to pay off in the long-term.

Like anything else, there are pros and cons to each. The question shouldn't be, "Which one do I use?" Instead, you should ask yourself, "How can I use them together in the most effective way possible?" 

For more information on using SEO and SEM together to create an effective search marketing campaign, check out Moz's blog post 8 Ways PPC and SEO Are Better When Used Together.

For help creating and executing a search engine optimization strategy that will boost your trajectory and generate traffic to your website, contact Demand Signals today.

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Sources:

Webopedia: http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Internet/the-difference-between-sem-and-seo.html

Bruce Clay: http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/what-is-sem/

Search Engine Land: http://searchengineland.com/adwords-brand-cpcs-rising-heres-can-225648 

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