What Is the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

A common beginning question with many projects concerning digital marketing strategies and workflows is considering SEO vs SEM. SEO (organic search) and SEM (paid search) can both be valuable methods when implemented intelligently.

Leveraging SEM

Most marketers refer to SEM (search engine marketing) as the use of paid ads in a search engine to funnel traffic and prospects to a business website. SEM has the unique ability to provide immediate visibility for a business, product, service, or other creative campaign. SEM also allows marketers to control in fine detail how, when, and to whom paid ads will be displayed. If producing highly targeted visibility quickly is needed for your project, then SEM should be considered.

Leveraging SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is often referred to more specifically as Organic SEO, and marketers generally refer to this as producing work which will generate indexing in the general, organic, unpaid search engine results. SEO can produce powerful results for a business, and can give a website far-reaching indexing for many kinds of searches. Developing indexing takes time, and while generating this indexing produces large amounts of traffic that doesn’t cost money, some patience and commitment is necessary for the strategy to work on a long term basis. Once indexing and visibility is established, a skilled SEO provider can help maintain it.

Integrating SEO and SEM into your digital marketing strategy

Each project and client is unique. For any given project, one strategy may be more practical, or a creative mix of both strategies may be the most practical. We assess your project and specific needs with no bias towards any particular method, and we help develop the most cost effective, efficient, results focused strategy.