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SEO and SEM, what are they for and what are the differences between the two?

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The terms SEO and SEM are becoming more and more common due to new technologies, we have all heard of them at some point or even used the terms ourselves, but do we really know what they mean and the difference between the two?

Nowadaysthese terms are very important, advertising is one of the main bases of the economy and the internet is one of the main media in which we can find it. A large percentage of the world's population uses the internet as the main platform for searching for information, so, as they say, what does not appear on the internet, does not exist. Therefore, online marketing is of great importance. It is very important not only to be on the internet, but to be positioned among the first results to achieve that visibility. Appearing on the fourth search page, and not appearing, is the same. Thanks to this need to make certain web pages visible on the internet and thanks to online marketing, the terms SEO and SEM arise.

SEO, what is it and what is it for?

First of all, we are going to define the concept of "SEO", as it is the most commonly used term, since it is within everyone's reach.

SEO, whose acronym is: Search Engine Optimisation, is the so-called search engine optimisation, that is to say, it refers to a set of actions and techniques that improve the positioning of a specific website within the list of results when searching on the internet. The list of web pages is ordered depending on the algorithm, which is updated from time to time in order to adjust itself as precisely as possible to the search that the user has carried out.

An important fact about SEO that will help us to understand the difference with SEM is that its results are organic, which means that they appear naturally without being influenced by paid advertising. So its relevance does not have to do with paid advertising, but with its importance with respect to the search performed by the user. These visibility techniques can be developed by any company or individual, there are specific keys to be positioned among the first and today there are many websites and programs that are specifically dedicated to helping companies to do so.

What is SEM and what is it for?

SEM is the acronym for Search Engine Marketing, which is also known as internet marketing, which is dedicated to promoting digital content by increasing its visibility and positioning within search engines. All this thanks to sponsored advertisements in these search engines. Often these same search engines are the ones who offer the tools for advertising. SEM creates campaigns to promote your online business thanks to the use of the Google AdWords tool. All this triggers several actions, firstly, the creation of new ads and secondly, the management of bids, with each specific search, thousands of companies make bids in real time to send personalised advertising to the user who has made that search .

So we could say that SEM has the same purpose as SEO but the way to achieve it is different, it involves much less effort, but more economic resources.

The 10 points that differentiate SEO from SEM.

  1. Firstly, the most obvious thing is that SEO is a free way of positioning while SEM is a paid way.

  2. On the other hand, within SEO, the results are organic, which means that they appear naturally, as opposed to SEM where they appear thanks to paid advertising.

  3. SEM allows a product or service to be known quickly on a large scale, whereas SEO has a slower and more tedious path to achieve the same objective.

  4. On the other hand, with SEM you can compete head to head with big competitors, with SEO it is not a sure thing.

  5. Thanks to SEM, the user traffic that appears on our website is very segmented, they come specifically to what we are offering them, but on the other hand, the traffic thanks to SEO can be of any type and they can find what they were looking for or not.

  6. If paid advertising works, in the case of SEM, the return on investment is very fast as we will generate much more than what we have invested, on the other hand, all the efforts invested in SEO may not be rewarded quickly because we do not ensure that immediate visibility that SEM guarantees us.

  7. The time it takes to become visible is very different between one and the other, while with SEM it is immediate, the time it takes with SEO depends directly on the competition and the efforts they have made.

  8. Normally, in SEM you pay for each click achieved, on the other hand, in SEO, you pay for the effort and time invested, the clicks are the reward for this.

  9. If in SEM you stop paying, you disappear, on the other hand, in SEO, if you stop investing your effort, you will not lose all the visits at once, it will last for a while.

  10. Finally, we find a big difference within the target audience, because even if our website is the first in SEO positioning, paid advertising ads will always appear first.
So, which option is better for my online business: SEO or SEM?

Before starting any business you have to take something very important into account, and that is the investment, you can not pretend to start a business and not invest money to achieve improvements, it is an economic effort that you have to assume when you have a company. Therefore you should always look for the best for your business. This does not mean that you have to invest in SEM yes or yes, SEO is also costly in terms of work and time, and if we are looking for a long-term profitability, this will give us more benefits since we do not invest as much as with SEM and if the work is good, positioning in the top positions of a search should not be complicated. So, by not paying per click, as with SEM, we are saving money while our efforts are paying off.

But why choose between one of the two when they are perfectly complementary? In an online marketing strategy it is recommended to invest in both, as this joint action would maximise the ROI of the project.

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