Ever heard of the saying ‘same same, but different’? That’s exactly what we get with SEO and SEM. Both work with the same platforms, such as Google and work towards achieving specific goals, such as helping your website get found by the customer you are trying to attract. However, they are very different strategies and implementing these strategies requires a different commitment in terms of your time, budget and effort.
So, what actually is the difference between SEO and SEM? And how do these two areas of digital marketing work together?
Before we get into it…
Search Engine Optimisation is not easy to summarise in a short blog as it takes into account a number of factors, but essentially Google wants to understand your website, it’s content and relevancy to a user’s search so to be able to offer your website to the user. Search engines offer guidelines in terms of how to optimize your website so that they can help both your business and the user find each other.
Search engines will look at a number of things when assessing your relevancy to a user’s search, such as:
- Quality and regular content – This is what sets an excellent website apart from a poor one. Quality content that answers the search enquiries of the user, that is easy to understand. Quality content created regularly is the second indicator to search engine crawlers that your business is an active one and therefore a good match to offer to the user who is searching for your business offerings.
- User Experience – Is your website understandable to your audience? Will they find it easy to navigate with fast loading times? Does your website’s content actually answer what they are looking for or solve their search enquiry? User experience is one of the most important factors. A website that does not offer a good user experience is less likely to make its way up the ranks within search engines.
- Link Patterns – Do you make use of inbound links and where do they come from? These crawlers will also look to see if you are backlinking to other authority sites in your content.
Ensure that your websites’ core SEO is taken care of which will then set the tone for how well the rest of your website will function and the organic traffic that it will attract.
Search Engine Marketing is a paid search advertising that you often see with a Google Ad at the top of your search page list.
SEM is targeted paid campaigns that use selective keywords and the advertisers’ platform to raise the visibility of their offering and website immediately. The benefits are many including brand recognition as it means that your site will be closer to the top of the list every time someone searches for that keyword.
Another benefit is that because it consists of paid ads, you can make sense of your ROI more easily. You can monitor your ad budget and make changes to your website or to the ads based on the success of your campaigns.
The Similarities and Differences Between SEO and SEM
We believe that paying attention to your business current and future goals will help set your SEO and SEM apart from your competitors. These are our recommendations for how to optimize your business website to get the best results out of these two strategies.
- User Experience (see I told you this one is a MUST): This is guaranteed to become more and more important to the world of SEO. How your audience engages with your website, views your website in terms of efficiency and relevancy is always going to be the number one factor when optimising your website. Working and coming up with new and innovative strategies, layouts and optimization will set your website aside from the rest.
- Optimized website: Covering how responsive your website is, to technical layout, on-page optimization and link structure – how well can Google understand your website the better it will be for your business.
- Quality Content developed regularly. Develop your SEO strategy targeting your customers. Lead with value. Understand what they are searching for and how to answer those search enquiries. Produce content regularly, to help Google understand that your business and website is active.
To sum up…
Anyone wanting to grow their business and use digital marketing technologies to their advantage must understand how SEO and SEM work separately and together to bring the results your business deserves.
Evidence proves that the majority of people are searching online before making a decision to purchase a product or to engage with a business, therefore it is essential to have both a strong presence in search engines results pages and to continuously develop strategies to ensure your business visibility and business growth.