What is the difference between SEO & SEM

difference between seo and sem

Meaning: SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a part of SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

What is SEO?

SEO brings you FREE traffic from Google (and other search engines such as Bing or DuckDuckGo). In a few words, SEO brings you organic traffic. Thus, f you want your website to be more visible on search engines, you need to SEO optimize your pages.

Google, the world’s main search engine, has around 200 different ranking factors.

Some examples are:

  • The age of your website 
  • Speed of your website
  • Content length
  • Backlinks

Why do you need SEO? Because it’s the best way to get new customers for FREE.

Read here how to properly SEO optimize your website

SEO is divided into 3 parts:

Onsite SEO –

Why Onsite SEO? – To rank for the keywords that you want to rank.

How? – Optimizing your pages eg. Using chosen keywords in the website pages  (Titles, ALT text, naming the images using your keywords, etc.).

Did you know? – Homepage is the most important page when it comes to ranking, so spend more of your time optimizing your homepage rather than blogs.

Did you know? – Don’t over-optimize the pages. Google will know when you will write content just to please SEO and not the readers.

Did you know? – Onsite SEO is very easy to learn.

Off-Page SEO

Why Off-Page / Offsite SEO? – Google will know whether your website is trusty and valuable when DR (Domain Rating) & DA (Domain Authority) of your website is higher than of your competitors. This will make it easier for you to rank on your keywords.

How? – Getting links/backlinks from other highly rated websites (also called link building). ‘’Read more here’’

Did you know? – The websites which give you a link, have to do something with your business. Let’s say that your website sells furniture. The website that links to you should do something with furniture, and not other stuff e.g. grocery store.

Did you know? – If your website doesn’t have a good DR or DA, it will be much harder for your keywords to rank on the first page on Google.

Technical SEO

Why Technical SEO? – This is by far the most difficult part of SEO. Technical SEO refers to improving your website’s indexing and crawling. Google has 1.5 billion websites to crawl, so what are the chances that yours will be crawled immediately?

How? – The code of the website should be created well. You should have the robots.txt set up properly and much more.

Did you know? – It might take 6 hours up to 3 months for Google to crawl your website.

Did you know? – When creating a website, make sure that the developer in charge is aware of the best practices within Technical SEO.

‘’Learn how to properly SEO optimize your website here’’

What is SEM?

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a digital marketing process to increase visibility on Google and other search engines.

This is done either through SEO or PPC.

So yes, SEO + PPC = SEM

Spoiler: PPC is when you pay to Google or other websites for a space to place your AD.

Why is SEM so important?

Traffic coming from Search Engine Marketing (either through organic SEO or Paid Search Advertising) is considered the most important source of online traffic because it is targeted. People intend to use search engines when they need to find a solution to a problem or to learn something.

So, when a person clicks on a website (either that shows up on the internet organically or through an ad), they are more likely to convert if it is relevant to them. The relevancy of the displayed web sites and ads makes SEM traffic more important than any other source of traffic.

On what should you spend more time – SEO & SEM?

Marketers normally suggest larger and longer existing companies to focus on SEO, while SEM more for Startups (as they don’t yet rank well on Google).

Even though SEO brings free organic traffic, it is still not free! It costs years of optimizing the website and loads of money for backlinks. Some companies try to get the backlinks through good content, while others just ‘’buy’’ the backlinks through freelancers. Even though this method is still used by 90% of the companies, SEO specialists believe that one day Google will have a special method where they will check whether it is an organic or paid backlink.

Also, it takes a lot of time for SEO to work (months to years), while SEM lets you generate traffic immediately.

So as a result, both SEO and SEM are very important, however it depends on what you want to achieve. Some companies decide to spend their money on SEM, while others look long term and go for SEO.

What do we recommend? – If you are a startup, spend time on SEO, however, SEM will bring you more traffic. If you are an older business, spend more time on SEO and use SEM for your campaigns.

Does SEM help SEO?

Doesn’t matter how much of your budget you spend on SEM, the money that you spent on ads will NOT help SEO.

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