Although the terms Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization are often used interchangeably, they are really different. The problem is that many experts disagree on what those differences actually are, which can make it a bit confusing.
Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Similarities
Search Engine Marketing actually includes Search Engine Optimization. Both go hand in hand. In most cases, both need to be used to market successfully online.
One common idea used in both Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization is attracting traffic to your website through the use of search engines.
Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Differences
But unlike Search Engine Optimization alone, Search Engine Marketing includes the use of paid ads and other forms of paid advertisement. The focus in choosing the correct keywords with Search Engine Optimization is your web page.
With search engine marketing, keywords are used to optimize the searches to your ad.
Search Engine Marketing and the Use of Keywords
To get the best results, you have to know which keywords the visitor is going to actually use. You might think the best way to do this is to decide what keywords you would type into the search box— and just use those keywords.
But, the truth is, even though it is a keyword think of, it doesn’t necessarily mean that most searchers are using this keyword. An excellent tool that Google provides is called the Google Keyword Planner. Using a tool like this will help you to find the most searched keywords for your ad.
On the other hand, if we are just starting up and still have a fairly low rank in the search engines, we may want to stay away from keywords that are being used too much. If there is too much competition, and we don’t have 1000’s dollars to spend on paid ads (the more popular the search, the more expensive the keyword), then we may want to go for the low-hanging fruit.
You may need to find related keywords that are not as expensive but are still reasonably popular.
SEM / Pay Per Click Ads
One example of paid marketing is Pay Per Click (PPC). You can set up a campaign with Google or Bing. This would involve creating a brief ad directing attention to your site.
You also must choose the keywords that are actually used in your site or landing page. However, you wouldn’t want to use keywords just to attract visitors when your landing page isn’t on that subject at all. This would ruin the effectiveness of your campaign and may even keep your ad from running.
Just as the name indicates— you must pay per click. Each time someone clicks on your ad, you pay for the click. So, you don’t want to waste clicks. As we discussed earlier, some keywords are so competitive that they are very expensive. This brings us to the thought of being focused.
SEM Needs to Be Focused
You need to really focus your keywords to attract people that are searching for your subject or product. If you choose vague, highly competitive keywords such as “money” or “internet marketing” or “online dating,” you’ll get plenty of clicks in no time—but they won’t be focused.
In other words, you could wind up paying for 1000s of very expensive clicks before you find one that has an interest in your product.
Use Split Testing in Your Campaign
When you create your ad, try making slight changes and run both ads at once to see which gets better results. This is called split testing. You need to keep making refinements in your campaign until your results show you can make a profit. Then you ramp up the investment.
There is a science to it. It is fast-moving and exciting. But you can lose your shirt if you don’t know what you are doing. Keep in mind that what you are selling should more than compensate for what you are spending on paid ads.
The Difference in SEO
Search engine optimization, on the other hand, is a lot slower. Search engine optimization refers to the unpaid use of optimizing your site in order to make it easy for search engines to bring traffic to your site.
If you use search engine optimization in your blog, it can bring you traffic results for years and years to come. Years after any paid ad has expired, a well-written article or blog will continue to bring traffic month after month.
However, neither SEO nor SEM competes with the other. Both SEO and SEM can beautifully work hand in hand and contribute to the success of your online business.