July 24th, 2012
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of incorporating specific design and content elements into a website to make it more reachable for search engines. SEM or Search Engine Marketing deals with paid advertisements to promote websites. An example of SEM is sponsored/featured Listings located on the top and the right side of Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
SEO and SEM – The Basics
Search engine algorithms filter only the most relevant and useful of websites for users’ search term. These algorithms are upgraded regularly so that they include newer elements for ranking websites according to their quality and relevance for users. As such, SEO techniques keep changing to cater to new and emerging algorithms. The controlling factor in SEO is the search engine algorithm.
SEM adverts, however, are under the control of website owners. You choose keywords and ad positions for which search engines have to display your website advertisement. You need to pay a predetermined amount for every valid click on the advert though.
Although SEO and SEM are often used in an interchangeable manner, there are significant differences between the two.
Good search engine ranking is the foundation of SEO. As such, website factors that favor good rankings such as content, keywords, navigation and design are constantly updated to keep pace with search engine algorithms. SEO is a slow and an ongoing process that delivers website traffic over time.
The SEM approach however is adopted to derive faster results. SEM is not in any way affected by search engine rankings. Website adverts show up for designated keywords; website content and design are irrelevant. The purpose of SEM is solely business marketing.
Keywords, content, link building, image optimization, meta and title tags, website organization and design elements are some common SEO elements. SEM involves elements such as PPC (Pay Per Click) ads, featured listings at strategic positions on SERPs and paid advertisements on other popular websites.
SEO requires quality website content to attract traffic. As part of its strategy, SEO includes keywords in content in appropriate count and at strategic places (e.g., title, headers, etc.) within the webpage. Emphasis is placed on having informative content relevant to readers’ search phrases.
SEM is in no way concerned with website content. The aim of a SEM strategy is to get traffic to the website through the paid advertisement. Therefore, emphasis is more on creating catchy ad phrases.
Time and Budget
SEO is a time-consuming process but relatively cost-effective compared to SEM. SEM offers quick results but can be quite expensive, especially if you’re bidding for highly competitive keywords and ad placement positions. It’s important to trial with SEM adverts to determine the most beneficial strategy.
SEO and SEM are both important for a business. While SEM can be beneficial in specific situations (for example, when you’re just starting a business or are revamping your business after a brief lull), SEO is the right choice for the long run.
nvision Solutions can help you with the right strategy for your business. Contact us today!