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SEO vs SEM Whats the Difference ?

Posted by Brett Hall on 27 April 2017
SEO vs SEM Whats the Difference ?

We can assume it's safe to say most of us have heard the acronym 'SEO', which standards for Search Engine Optimisation. While we might have heard the term, it doesn't mean we know what it means, and how it impacts businesses.

Let's throw another acronym into the mixture. 'SEM'. What? Is this the same as SEO but two letters back? No. SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. So what do both of these mean? And why are they hanging out together? Stop scratching your head, and allow us to explain.


How does SEO work for business?

The simple way to explain SEO is that everything you put in the digital world for your business is like creating digital crumbs that help people find you. The more crumbs you leave, the higher your listings and the more people that find you. That is what a great SEO strategy can do.

Here's a simple example, if you search Apple your search feed will show Apple, the manufacturers of the iPhone and iPad, not the fruit you eat. Being industry leaders, they have many featured articles across millions of websites worldwide for both review and products sales, and as a result, have high ranking SEO.  Don't we all wish we could be Apple?!


Now, SEM what is it and how does it differ from SEO?

Again, SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing.

It is like search engine optimisation in the sense that it gets you at the top of search engines, but the difference is it uses paid advertising. You may find some people use SEM to refer to a mix of both SEO and paid (which can make it confusing!), but it is primarily recognised for the paid component.  Next time you're on Google, Bing or Yahoo and you search for a specific topic or business type look at the content that comes up in your feed. You'll see paid advertisers being listed at the top.

If we go back to our breadcrumb analogy, SEM is like someone coming along and placing a slice of bread on your trail, so people will see their bread before they spot your breadcrumbs. They pay search engines to be listed at the top to get a competitive advantage.


Pros and Cons

If you're willing to pay for advertising, you can build your business rapidly using SEM. However, if for some reason you needed to stop paying for SEM, even for a short while, you will no longer appear at the top. Now, if you have done nothing with your SEO over this time, you may not be found on even the first ten pages of a search! This is why a mixture of both SEO and SEM can be beneficial to your business.

SEM can help with short-term growth, where SEO can build your business progressively through organic searching.

Not sure how you could utilise SEO and SEM in your business? Call us today on (07) 5530 4375 to enquire about our FREE SEO and SEM audit!

Author: Brett Hall
Tags: Online Marketing Google AdWords Remarketing Search Engine optimisation Search Engine Marketing Digital Marketing Online Advertising Effective Online Advertising

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