The language used in the marketing world is constantly changing and evolving, and it can be easy to get bogged down in all of the marketing terms. PPC, B2B, SaaS, SEO, SEM? It’s difficult to keep everything straight, especially with terms as similar as SEO and SEM. However, at Lift Digital Marketing, we make marketing make sense to our clients. Read on to learn more about the difference between SEM and SEO- and why it matters.
Difference Between SEM and SEO
The main difference between SEM and SEO is their focus or goal. The goal of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is to increase your website traffic and visibility from both organic and paid search. Search Engine Optimization, on the other hand, is focused on optimizing your website in order to increase the traffic from organic search results.
When you look up a website on google, the search results will be divided into paid search results at the top, followed by organic search results at the bottom. The order that websites are ranked in the organic search results portion is dependent on the quality of the SEO on your website. The better your website’s SEO is, the higher website will organically rank for your target keywords and target audience. You can get your website into the paid area of the search results through pay-per-click (PPC).
An Overview of SEO
SEO is an ongoing process, as you need to continually improve the optimization for your website in order to rank well in the organic, non-paid search engine results pages (SERPs). Google uses a very advanced algorithm to rank your website based on keywords, images, links, and much more. Within the very complex ranking system and algorithm, there are four categories of SEO. These four categories of SEO are on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO, and User Interaction Signals.
On-Page SEO refers to optimizing the keywords on your website to match the keywords that your potential customers are searching for in search engines such as Google and Bing. An example of an on-page SEO best practice is to include your main keyword that you are trying to rank for in your title tag, URL, and meta description. Off-Page SEO involves building high quality backlinks to your website in order to drive traffic and building authority within the search engine’s algorithm.
Technical SEO is where user experience technicalities come into play, such as making sure your site loads quickly, is optimized for mobile and web use, and is set up correctly in terms of site architecture and web design. User Interaction Signals are used in SEO in order to tell search engines if your content is giving users the information they are looking for. If your site or a certain webpage has a high bounce rate, you’ll likely rank lower in an organic search engine, as it means many users didn’t find what they were looking for on your page.
An Overview of SEM
SEM is a higher, more overarching term, which includes SEO. While all SEO best practices apply when it comes to SEM, you must also factor in PPC with SEM, and PPC comes with its own unique set of best practices as well. With PPC, you bid on a keyword. When a potential customer searches for that keyword, your site or page will come up in the paid search results section. If the potential customer clicks on your site, you will then pay whatever amount you bid for that specific keyword. The cost of someone clicking on your ad is called cost per click (CPC).
Google Ads has some very important metrics that you should keep in mind if you want to do well on your PPC ads. The most important of these metrics is your Quality Score. Your Quality Score of each ad is based on your click through rate, landing page quality, and the overall Quantity Score of your Google Ad account. If your Ad has a high Quality Score, you’ll get a discount on how much you have to pay for each click.
Your Ad Copy plays a huge role in your Quality Score, and your Ad Copy should compel users to click. If you don’t have people clicking on your ad, your quality score will go down, and your PPC ads will get much pricier.
Should I Focus on SEM or SEO?
You should focus on both. They both go hand-in-hand. SEO is an aspect of SEM. It can be difficult to change one without affecting the other, and that’s ok. In most cases, improving one will also improve the other. Both SEO and PPC have their pros and cons, and it takes different amounts of time, effort, and monetary investments to see results from either. Most businesses will see the best results from using a marketing strategy that includes a mix of SEO and PPC.
Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
As a business owner, it can be difficult to handle SEO and SEM together, as both require a significant amount of attention, time, energy, and hands-on work every day to improve your search rankings. Trying to handle all of the marketing aspects of your business in addition to all of the other responsibilities of running a business can feel overwhelming and nearly impossible, which is why outsourcing your marketing efforts to a digital marketing firm can be not only beneficial, but also life-changing.
Our team at Lift Digital Marketing has years of experience dealing with the technical, ever-changing landscape of SEM and SEO, and we know the best practices for driving traffic and customers to your business. By letting us handle your marketing efforts, you can relax and get back to doing what you do best- running your business! Give us a call today to see how we can help improve the SEM and SEO for your business.