Inbound Marketing Blog

Marketing in Baton Rouge: What’s the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

AdobeStock_104892353.jpegThere are a lot of umbrella terms out there, especially when it comes to technology.  Often these words, phrases and jargon get interchanged, used inaccurately, and can be confusing.  In the marketing world which is overlapping more and more with technology, this is a common occurrence; and the speed at which strategies and devices are evolving, this is understandable.  Two practices that are vital in today’s digital landscape, SEO and SEM can be easy to mix up, and while they are similar, they are still different.  Just like every shortstop is a baseball player, not every baseball player is shortstop.  Search engine optimization and search engine marketing follow this same transitive pattern.  SEO is SEM, but not all SEM is SEO.  Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.

What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of optimizing your website to be found organically in search.  The ultimate goal behind SEO is to make your website and content understandable to search engine algorithms.  The more your site, its details, and offerings are in line with what is being searched, the better your chances are to be found by an engaged audience.  Here are a few tips on how to leverage SEO for your site:

  • Include targeted keywords in your page titles
  • Use well formatted URLs
  • Include H1 tags
  • Use alt image tags

What is SEM?

SEM, or search engine marketing, is the practice of using all of the tools at your disposal to enhance your brand’s, organization’s, or business’ presence on SERPs (search engine results pages).  SEO is half of this formula; the other half comes by the way of paid search advertising, or pay-per-click.  So what’s the difference between paid and organic?  Organic search results (achieved through SEO) are free.  However, achieving these results comes through hard work like content creation, page optimization, and keyword analysis.  Once earned, these organic results can offer a long standing SERP placement.  Paid on the other hand is a quick and direct way to put your site at the top of the page for a search query.  While there is an investment included with this strategy, it does offer immediate exposure.  Implementing both of these strategies is what encompasses SEM.  While focusing on organic or paid separately can be beneficial, organization’s that use both are more effective at meeting their goals. 

So there we have it, the difference between SEO and SEM.  To recap, SEO is a specific tactic used for increasing your organic web presence.  SEM on the other hand is a complete strategy designed to leverage the power of search engines to deliver your content to engaged, relevant searchers.  BlinkJar Media is a digital marketing agency that helps businesses achieve their lead generation goals through SEM.

SEO TIps From Experts

Topics: SEO and SEM