SEM vs SEO: Do you know the difference?

Or are your eyes glazing over immediately?

SEM and SEO are pretty big topics, and the acronyms get thrown around a lot, but what do they really mean?
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Well… they both do relate to how you can boost your business in online search results.Β 
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And, both fall within the umbrella term “Search Marketing”.
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BUT there is a one big difference.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

π’πžπšπ«πœπ‘ π„π§π π’π§πž 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐀𝐞𝐭𝐒𝐧𝐠 (π’π„πŒ), also known as Search Advertising, is a paid way to get high search results.
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Basically, the business pays to enter a bid for advertising space on a website / web directory, and whoever pays the most wins gets to show their search ad.
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When placing an advert, you can be very specific about who you want to see your advert. So, this is where having a very clear idea about your target and ideal client base comes in handy.
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Examples of the different types of SEM are:
  • Google adverts
  • Google Adwords
  • Bing adverts
  • Yahoo adverts
  • Facebook and Instagram adverts and boosted posts (sometimes these fall under Social Media Marketing (SMM))
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SEM can help you see results quickly, and can have high conversion rates. However, buyer beware: once you stop paying, the results will also stop.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

π’πžπšπ«πœπ‘ π„π§π π’π§πž 𝐎𝐩𝐭𝐒𝐦𝐒𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐒𝐨𝐧 (π’π„πŽ), on the other hand, is about doing what you can to get the best organic search results.Β 
This is what a LOVE doing… it involves designing your website, socials and other content in such a way that it increase the chance of your website appearing higher up in search engine rankings.
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Examples of the different types of SEO are:
  • On-page / on-site SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Website / Technical SEO
  • Local SEO
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SEO may not be very effective in the short term but it really does boost long-term results. So if undertaking SEO, be patient, track your progress and tweak as you go.

While both SEO and SEM are great, I highly recommend setting up your SEO correctly and refining your messaging before starting to invest your dollar-bucks in SEM.

Before starting out with either SEO or SEM, you should be clear on what results you are looking to achieve.

With both SEO and SEM, you are helping to boost your brand’s visibility and increase awareness of your business.

Be aware the sometimes the results of these activities do not directly reflect in clicks, comments or likes, however these strategies certainly do help move a client through the purchase decision-making journey a little quicker.

Want to find out how these strategies could grow your business? I’d be happy to chat. Book a free call here:
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