SEO and SEM – what is it and how does it differ?

You are an entrepreneur, you sell products or services, you care about bigger profits, strong brand… You do not know how to reach a potential customer with your offer? Take care of SEM and SEO. Do not know what it is? Nowadays you have to!

What is SEM and SEO and is it needed in your company?

Why are SEM and SEO so important for a modern entrepreneur? It’s easy! Both concepts are related to online marketing. Do you want your offer to reach the right people? Sure you do! It is not enough to have “any” website and your products on it. Most of your potential customers start looking for products or services online. Make sure that they find your offer in the maze of competitors! This is what SEM will help you with.

SEM and SEO – how is it different?

SEM and SEO are currently two of the most popular issues related to Internet marketing, namely in the search engine. Many people think that both terms can be used interchangeably, that they are the same. Nothing could be further from the truth.

SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is all marketing activities aimed at improving the visibility of a website in Google. Among these activities we will find primarily paid advertising, i.e. Google Ads sponsored links campaigns, as well as website positioning and optimization.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is actually an element of SEM. It is a narrower concept, which does not include obtaining paid traffic from search engines, but only improving visibility of the website in organic results. SEO activities consist mainly in content optimization and optimization of the website code and structure.

For simplicity:

SEM = SEO + PPC
PPC stands for Pay Per Click, i.e. paid advertising, where we pay for each click on a sponsored link that directs a potential customer to our site (e.g. advertising in Google Ads).

Success is largely a matter of holding on after others have let go.

How does it work?

Nowadays, a potential customer not only supports himself or herself with the Internet looking for a given product. The Internet is usually the primary source of information in the process of searching for the “ideal” product. Usually the search starts with entering words or phrases that best illustrate or describe what we need. When you type in your query, the search engine “throws away” the addresses of the sites that it thinks best match your search. First we will see sponsored links, i.e. paid AdWords advertisement. Below you will see the sites that the search engine has chosen as equally aptly describing what we are looking for, but this is no longer a sponsored ad, but a SEO effect.

And although agencies specializing only in AdWords campaigns or only in SEO appear on the market, the most profitable is a combination of both techniques.

What do we gain by using SEO and advertising in AdWords?
The combination of AdWords and SEO forces allows you to see fast and long-lasting effects. By launching a sponsored links campaign we ensure immediate visibility of the site in search engine results. Traffic on our website increases thanks to purchased advertising and paid links. However, if the visitors consider our offer to be not suitable for their needs, the advertisement itself will do nothing. There are many factors that affect the effectiveness of AdWords campaigns, about which we will write in a separate article.

At the same time it is worth working on organic results, i.e. SEO. Thanks to this, we guarantee high position of our website in the search engine.

Working on SEO we gain also for another reason. Clients do not always trust sponsored links and look for offers in organic results. Effective SEO means above all good quality texts on the website. Those containing errors, worthless content, copied text from other portals will be treated by the search engine as “spam” and the website will gain a fatal position in organic results. SEO activities can be free of charge if we create the texts ourselves. However, if we are not able to write valuable content on our own, it is worth having a professional do it. Of course, the content itself is not the only element of SEO – there are many more and the whole optimization process is complicated and time consuming.

So what should you decide on? AdWords is a paid advertisement that guarantees quick effects, but we need to have an appropriate budget to invest in it and manage the entire campaign. We will have to wait a bit for SEO effects. They will appear after a few weeks or even months. However, SEO effects are long lasting. The ideal solution would be to use both techniques simultaneously in order to gain a new customer and strengthen the position of our brand. The high position of the sponsored link and the high position of the organic result is a double chance for the potential customer not to miss your offer.

So what should you decide on? AdWords is a paid advertisement that guarantees quick effects, but we need to have an appropriate budget to invest in it and manage the entire campaign. We will have to wait a bit for SEO effects. They will appear after a few weeks or even months. However, SEO effects are long lasting. The ideal solution would be to use both techniques simultaneously in order to gain a new customer and strengthen the position of our brand. The high position of the sponsored link and the high position of the organic result is a double chance for the potential customer not to miss your offer.

Arkadiusz Stolecki – CEO, Strategy Director

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