SEO or SEM? What’s the big difference?
To be honest, there’s quite a big difference. SEO is Search Engine OPTIMIZATION, whereas SEM is Search Engine MARKETING. It’s quite easy to get confused over which is what. Even the experts sometimes don’t agree on the definition and differentiation of the two terms. Here’s our analysis on defining and distinguishing between these two processes.

Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is basically the procedure of page development in a manner that promotes high rankings in search engine results based on their algorithms. These algorithms are typically displayed on the left side of a page. These “algorithmic” results are individually decided upon by the search engine’s personal technical algorithms. They vary based on the web page’s relevance to the searched keyword or phrase. The technical algorithms used by search engines are complicated, and they determine the significance of indexed pages to a certain searched phrase. These algorithms use more than a hundred ‘on the page’ and ‘off the page’ factors to calculate their outcomes. On the page factors are basically the content on the page itself, the keywords used, their location, and how often they are repeated. Therefore, the use of skilled SEO copywriters and article writers for this purpose is very important. Off the page factors include site popularity and other links directing to the web page.

Search engines also index the specific HTML code. For a website to rank well in search engines, it has to be laid out with search engine accessibility in mind. Or else the search engine will be unable to index the web page. Links that aren’t visible or web design layouts that plug up the server are also not indexed by search engines. Therefore, a webmaster must make sure that content is SEO-friendly.

Search Engine Marketing
On the other hand, Search engine marketing (SEM) refers to the concise text adverts that typically appear at the top or right hand side of search engine outcomes. They are commonly labeled as “sponsored links”. Such adverts are usually bought from Google AdwordsTM or Yahoo! Search Marketing.
A constantly working bidding system determines which advertisers get the highest ranked advertisements. Google also uses CTR or Click through Rate to decide its advert rankings. The SEM process is generally known as ‘PPC’ or ‘Pay per click’ advertising. This is due to the fact that the advertiser only pays when someone actually clicks on the advertising link and not for just displaying the advertisement.

So, SEM is basically paid advertising in search engines. Word advertisements show up when the keyword is searched for. A user inputs the key phrase, and those PPC advertisers that bid on that phrase get their advertisements to show up on the screen, in descending order depending on who bid the highest. When the user clicks on the advert, the advertiser gets charged with the ‘click’.
Comparing the two: Pros and Cons
SEM provides instant benefits for advertisers. Anyone can set up a Google Adwords account and promote his or her website. It’s easy and quick. No re-structuring your web content, link building, or any technical stuff needed. You don’t even have to pay when they show your ad. You only pay when it gets clicked on.
However, SEM also means you getting charged for every single click that drives traffic to your website. If you look at it that way, that’s a lifetime of paying for search engine advertising. Your competition might even try to mess with you by clicking on the advert repeatedly, though you’re really not getting any traffic. Not that it’s permitted by the bigger PPC programs, but ‘click fraud’ does happen.

On the other hand, Search engine optimization is somewhat like a long-term investment. It utilizes the recommended web design structures. You don’t have to pay the search engines. Search engine spiders frequent your site for absolutely no cost, index it, and rank it according to relevance against algorithms. The key here is getting skilled content writers and SEO copywriters to develop content that screams, “Content!” and designing your site to be as accessible as can be. This will definitely help you win the search engine ranking battle!
A well-rounded internet marketing strategy utilizes both means. Hiring an established SEO companythat truly understands how search engines work will ensure your website receives the traffic and hits it deserves.