SEO versus SEM: Which Is Better?
Even though most marketers use the terms SEO and SEM, they aren’t the same thing, and your website needs both. You know that SEO stands for search engine optimization; SEM is the acronym for search engine marketing. They exist in the same toolbox, but are separate tools. SEO focuses on organic search results, while SEM includes SEO, paid advertisements, paid listings and other search oriented marketing strategies.
Successful SEO provides high-ranking placement in search engine result pages. Because most people don’t click through pages and pages of Google results, your website would obviously benefit from higher ranking in search results. And that’s typically achieved from effective SEO.
Your SEO practices should always include providing fresh, relevant content, strategic keywords, social networking, and simple navigation that appeals to web visitors and internet spiders. Many websites overlook a simple tool: the sitemap. It’s a roadmap for internet bots (the good kind!) and spiders, and makes your content easier to crawl.
So what is SEM? It leaves the keyword rich content creation and distribution to SEO and focuses on paid advertisements that promise desirable placement in search engine result pages (SERPS). The goal is to increase exposure and send traffic to your website, targeted traffic. You pay for the desirable placement, and measure results by click through rate (CTR). The most common example might be Google Adwords.
So it’s not a question of SEO or SEM, they aren’t competing factors, they have a complementary relationship. SEO is considered a subset of SEM. Invest in building traffic through organic search (SEO) and bring it home with well placed SEM strategies.