What’s the Main Difference Between SEM and SEO?

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Did you know the top five search results on Google get 75% of the clicks? This is only one reason you need to get your business’s website at the top of results pages by any means necessary.

You’ve likely heard that the best way to do this is by harnessing the power of SEM. Or was it SEO? What’s the difference between SEM and SEO anyway?

All businesses need to know the basics of digital marketing to grow and thrive in this tech-forward climate. This guide breaks down what both of these terms mean and how they are different so you can use them to your advantage.

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a toolbox of techniques you can use on your website to increase the chances of it appearing higher in SERPs. These techniques are organic and lead to higher quality (and quantities) of web traffic.

These are some examples of the SEO techniques you can use to boost your rankings in Google search results pages:

  • Keyword research
  • Writing high-quality, long-form content
  • Developing a backlink profile
  • Fast site speed
  • Mobile-friendly web design

Some techniques have a larger effect on your rankings than others, and the best techniques to use are always changing. If you have an online business or a business with a website, you need to learn more about SEO, so read more now.

What Is SEM?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. There are a few different definitions of SEM, which is why you might get confused about what it means exactly.

Some companies (like Google) say that SEM refers only to paid advertising on search engines. This is also called Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. These are the links you see at the top of SERPs with “Ad” in bold to the left of the titles.

And others say that SEM is an umbrella term for all types of internet marketing. This includes PPC, SEO, and sometimes SMM (social media marketing) too.

The most-used definition nowadays is the first one.

Main Difference Between SEM and SEO

So, the main difference between SEM and SEO is that the former technique increases paid traffic. The latter technique increases unpaid traffic.

Which technique is better? There is no clear winner when pitting SEO vs. SEM against each other because they can both help grow your online traffic and business. SEO gives you free, evergreen traffic, but you can tailor SEM toward your target audience.

Grow Your Online Business Faster

If you want to see your online business grow, you don’t only need to understand the difference between SEM and SEO. You need to use them.

It might seem daunting at first because there are so many SEO and SEM techniques to learn and put into practice. But once you see your traffic start to rise, you will wish you started sooner!

There are many more useful tools and skills you can learn to succeed online. Browse our business and digital marketing articles to find tons of helpful guides!

Also read about: How an SEO Company be a Boon for Your Business?

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