SEO vs SEM: The Difference Between Organic and Paid Search

Those who are new to digital marketing are often mistaken for SEO and SEM because it sounds similar. Equally used to increase brand awareness and traffic online. However, there are differences between these two methods so you need to pay attention to.



What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Essentially, Search Engine Optimization is included in the Search Engine Marketing section. SEO here plays a role to raise the rank of a website in search engine pages through organic search; IE by utilizing the use of keywords within your website.

There are two main components of SEO:

1. On-page Optimization

On-page SEO (or on-site SEO) are all settings that you apply directly to your site or blog to be more search engine friendly. Examples of such applications include the use of selected keywords into tags and meta description, good URL format, proper use of headings (H1, H2, etc.), image optimization, site loading speed, and much more.

2. Off-page Optimization

Off-page SEO leads more to promotional activities that occur outside of your website that aims to elevate your site’s reputation in search engines. Simply put, try to imagine this as a ranking system where the most widely devoted websites are in the highest positions. Voting in this context is a large number of links coming from outside to your site; Both from other websites, social bookmarking, social sharing, and others.

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Like SEO, Search Engine Marketing is also used as a strategy to promote your site by increasing visibility in search engine results through optimization and advertising. But, for that, you need to spend some money. SEM usually includes pay-per-click (PPC) through Google Adwords or Bing Ads and banner ads that are posted on related websites, usually also combined with SEO.

Which one should be used first?

Well, now you already know the difference between SEM and SEO. Surely you start to wonder, which method should be applied first? Or should you use both at once?

SEM itself has the advantage of bringing traffic to your site instantly, while for SEO it takes a long time for your website ranking can go up. If you want to promote a newly launched site, SEM can be a great choice for you. However, for the long term, a good SEO implementation can help your site credibility with less cost of course.

In the end all back to your business needs and the amount of budget available. Whichever method you choose, keep in mind that the purpose of these two techniques is how you get the amount of relevant and quality traffic to your site. So, be wise!

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