SEM can be a confusing marketing term for many. A lot of terms in digital marketing sound similar or have comparable definitions. This blog aims to give a clear definition of SEM, distinguish the key differences between SEM and SEO, and the benefits of using it.
What is SEM?
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy used to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results pages.
Using this strategy, businesses pay for ads to appear as search results on the search engine results page when a user is searching for a product with a certain keyword(s). Impressively, SEM works by using the power of search engines like Google and Bing by paying for ads to reach potential customers at the perfect time and place.
The paid search ads can be found on the search results page. They include an “Ad” designation to let users know it is a paid placement.
Key Differences Between SEM and SEO
The difference between SEM and SEO is that SEM primarily uses paid search advertising to appear in search. Meanwhile, Search engine optimization (SEO) uses a more organic means of generating visibility using organic strategies to appear in search.
Businesses use a variety of tactics that evoke search engines to show their content near the top of search engine results pages. That is, if the search engine deems the result to be trustworthy and valuable for the user.
For example, when a user searches for “how to make cookies”, Google uses an algorithm to determine which web page can best to answer that query. It then ranks the pages or relevant content according to how sure it is that the page can answer the question.
Thus, SEO strategy is about positioning the website so that Google or other search engines determine it is the best website to answer the query. So, that it can appear on top of the results pages and drive more traffic that way.
The Benefits of Using This Strategy
- SEM instantly allows websites to be on top of page results. Remarkably, a business can get instant attention that has no current visibility or brand recognition
- It can generate revenue quickly as the ads allow more and faster traffic
- Very scalable. It is easy to start small and test things out while keeping costs low. And as businesses grow, they can increase the number of ads and scale it larger than ever
- Reaches a more targeted audience. Being visible in search results means being where the customers are. This means it is also the perfect time to boost website traffic and reach a new customer
- Brand reinforcement. Using SEM businesses are consistently and repeatedly presenting their brand. This allows more recognition to the general user and can turn that user into a paying customer as they get familiar with the brand
SEM, a strategy businesses use by paying for ads to appear as top search results on the search engine results page. When a user is searching for a product with a certain keyword(s), the search results appear by using the power of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo paid by ads. The main difference between SEO and SEM is that SEM primarily uses paid search advertising to appear in search. While SEO uses a more organic means of generating visibility, using organic strategies to appear in search. Lastly, there are various benefits of SEM such as its ability to give instant brand recognition and its scalability.
By Shiroman Deen Anton at International Institute of Digital Marketing™