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How Do SEM & SEO Relate to Each Other

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are terms often times being interchanged even by seasoned professionals. That is understandable because they are actually both used to boost search engine visibility. They are however, quite different.

What is SEO

When you search for something on a search engine like Google, you will see the results listed by pages. These results are ranked by search engines according to the relevance of the keyword used. How do you get to the 1st page of search results for certain keywords? That is the question SEO strives to answer. To put it simply, SEO is a method of ensuring that your website can be found in the top pages of search engines. Search engines measure the quality and quantity of traffic that a website has when evaluating a site’s relevance to a specific keyword. Search engines use crawlers (bots that gather information about every content that they can find on the internet) and index them to match the data they gather with your query or search. Search engines use algorithms in matching these data.

What is SEM

Search Engine Marketing on the other hand is process that uses several methods to promote a website using organic search listings and paid campaigns. Ever notice those results in Google that say Ad or Sponsored? Those are the results of SEM. They usually appear at the top of the page 1 of a search result. SEM is a common method to drive growth of a business or simply to get more customers. Ecommerce are the most common sites that employ this type of strategy.

The Difference between SEM and SEO

Traditionally, SEO is a component of SEM which, as described above, is a technique to promote a website using organic search listings and paid campaigns and SEO is a technique employing just organic search listings. Today though, SEM leans more towards paid search. Although SEM still does involve a bit of organic search listings, it relies heavily on the paid campaigns to achieve the desired results.

How do SEM and SEO Complement Each Other

SEM and SEO are different methods used for Search Marketing. Both methods use keywords to drive traffic to your website. When done properly, both SEO and SEM can help your search marketing campaign become successful. SEO will boost your site’s ranking in organic listing while SEM will make your site immediately visible using targeted keywords.


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