As part of a business, you may have heard of both SEO and SEM. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a popular rank booster for online content. Whereas, search engine marketing (SEM) offers a quicker boost in ranking. Either way, each technique promises more traffic to your online content.
But which of the two is right for your business?
In this article, we’ll explore the following:
- The differences between SEO and SEM
- SEO and SEM at a glance
- What SEO can do for you
- What SEM can do for you, AND
- The verdict
By learning the differences between the two entities, and learning more about them on an individual basis, you’ll soon know which one is best for your business.
“SEO and SEM are two difference entities,” says Walter Chandler, a tech blogger. “SEO refers to free techniques that help you boost your content’s search engine ranking organically through keyword usage, better and faster website, and guest posting. In contrast, SEM refers to marketers paying for their online content to be ranked high on search engines through paid ads.”
SEO vs. SEM: At First Glance
What do SEO and SEM offer in hindsight? In short, the two offer the following to online marketers, especially in the business spectrum:
- Offers organic results, meaning that such results aren’t “paid” for
- Often the result generated by a search engine’s algorithm
- Desired results are evident over time, AND
- Anyone can see your content, when you use SEO
- “Paid” results that are fast
- Usually reserved for sponsored posts and ads
- Let’s you target specific audience segments, AND
- Beneficial for whenever you’re testing posts and other content
SEO is free (which is a big advantage for businesses who want to save money on their marketing endeavors). While desired results won’t happen overnight, this method is encouraged more by most search engines (including Google), because algorithms are always caring, and always placing new rules in how people can create and post content online. For example, search engines like Google will prioritize results that come up in the first page of results. If you’re on top of the results (or, at least, find yourself somewhere on the first page of results), Google will prioritize your content, thus making you more discoverable to other online users. Otherwise, if you’re not on top (or on the first page of results), you’ll be ranked lower, and it’ll be more difficult for your content to be visible online.
Now, if your business is looking for quick results, then SEM is a better alternative. When you pay to get your content noticed by more online users, you’ll build viewership very quickly. Plus, you’re able to target the audiences that you want to target, rather than leave anything to chance.
However, buying ad space isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. In fact, SEM implies that you’re targeting specific users, rather than appealing to everyone on the Internet. Plus, search engines like Google are more welcoming to organic results than paid results, since organic results aren’t forced to the top. So, a method like this one would have to be implemented carefully, so that search engines aren’t suspicious about your online motives.
As we approach the final verdict of this inquisitive discussion, it’s now apparent that SEO and SEM have their own shares in pros and cons.
“SEO is free, but can take a while to help boost your online content,” says Chris Garth, a writer . “SEM gives you quick results, but can cost your business money. The overall consensus will depend on how your business wants results for their online content. In other words, does your business want fast results or organic results?”
So, which is better? SEO or SEM?
Again, that would depend on your business’s needs. If your business wants to save money, then SEO is the way to go. Or, if your business wants quick results, then choose SEM. Or, you can incorporate both for your marketing strategy.
Either way, think about how your business wants to gain more online publicity. It’s best to experiment with both, and see which one will work best. We hope this guide will be beneficial in choosing the right strategy for your business.
George J. Newton is a writer and editor for Write My Thesis. As a content writer, he writes articles about SEO, business management, and digital marketing.