SEO is basically used to optimize a website’s ranking in search results; on the other hand, SEM goes beyond the SEO. SEM involves other ways that can help you in getting several search engine visitors. Search optimization is a very important marketing tool, especially for those brands that are really trying hard to attract the market’s attention to drive more traffic as well as growing their business. However, search optimization can sometimes be a hard task especially if you cannot be able to differentiate between SEM and SEO. These strategies might sound the same to you; you should, therefore, note that the two are different approaches that one can use for search optimization.
Search engine optimization is basically the process of optimizing a website in order to get free traffic from the search engines while Search engine marketing involves both paid and organic strategies, many people these days refer to it as a paid search. Many people define SEM as the process of getting free traffic from free, the organic, editorial or the natural search results that are on the search engine.
Therefore, SEM is viewed as a paid search while SEO is viewed as an organic search.
For SEM, the search placements will include ‘Ad’ designation while for SEO it will not: the search results of the SEO and SEM that appears on SERP always seem different. This is because the paid ads that get placement via the SEM strategies are normally recognized as ad while the search results that appear due to the organic SEO are normally not marked in that manner.
With SEM, you can select the audience that you prefer to see your post; you can do this by filtering the age, the location, their income, habits and many more. However, with SEO, you cannot do that, you cannot specify on who should see your results and who should not.
Since you can easily turn the paid ads of SEM off and on, it is, therefore, a good tactic that one can use for testing that SEO. One can easily revise the ad copy; target the new audiences as well as changing the content on the landing page to test the new strategies. This flexibility will enable you to see the difference in your tactics instantly. With SEO, this cannot be achieved; this is because it might take a lot of time to make the changes needed and to monitor the differences in the results.
SEO tends to add value over time while SEM does not, SEM only stays active when you pay for the results to show, when you turn off the ads, the SEM strategy is over, while for SEO, it grows as well as compounds with time and hence leaves results that are lasting.
After reading the above, am certain that it is now easier for you to choose the strategy that you think is better for you, to decide the one that is right for your brand, you can look at how your competitors are performing with the search optimization they are using.