If you’re involved in the world of digital marketing, you’ve likely at least heard the acronyms SEO and SEM. Still, you may be unsure of the differences, similarities, and benefits each brings to your business. Read on to learn more about how you can leverage these concepts together to your business’ advantage!


What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your website to generate organic traffic from the search engine results page. SEO involves making adjustments to your site so that it is as appealing to search engines as possible, in hopes that it will be placed higher on the search result pages.


What is SEM?

SEM is an acronym standing for search engine marketing. SEM includes various types of paid search advertising, such as a Google Ad. SEM often involves careful use of keywords, targeted paid ad campaigns, or applying key performance indicators such as cost-per-click to advertising activities.


What are the Differences and Similarities?

Although closely related, the two are oriented differently. SEM refers strictly to paid, targeted advertising, while SEO centers around increasing unpaid, organic site traffic.

As for similarities, both rely on the strategic use of keywords, focus on traffic flow to your website, and complement other digital marketing activities. They go hand in hand, as SEM campaigns are generally more successful when paired with strong SEO and vice versa.


How Do They Work Together

Marketers using both organic SEO techniques and pay-per-click ads see an average of 25% more clicks and 27% more profits compared to using a single method. What’s right for your business’s SEO strategy is usually suitable for SEM as well. For example, by optimizing your website with keywords while simultaneously using those keywords in paid, targeted ads, your business will have more chances to occupy the results page for your industry.

Your business can draw data and insights from your SEO, such as conversion, click-through rates, and time spent on sites, which will help you build a strong foundation for your next targeted SEM campaign.


How Can I Leverage Them Both to Maximize Outcomes?

Approach Them Together

By looking at SEO and SEM holistically, you will be better able to integrate them into your marketing strategies. For example, place paid, targeted ads to run next to your organic search results, which increases visibility and click-through rates, giving you the most bang for your buck.

Share Metrics and Goals

Set shared goals and utilize shared metrics. Sharing information gathered from both entities – conversion, click-through rates, return on investment, and user engagement – gives your business a broader, more assorted sample of data, making it easier to justify actions and campaigns. The information from an organic avenue may not be diverse enough to make actionable recommendations. When combined with SEM metrics, your business will be able to move forward with a much fuller data portfolio.

Sharing goals between SEM and SEO also ensures your approaches are working harmoniously together. All team members are then on the same page about what your business wants to accomplish through SEO and SEM campaigns.

Share Keyword Data

As consumers search with more complete phrases than ever before, keyword data takes on a whole new level of importance. Incorporate the same ones across the board in your strategies to increase site traffic, both paid and organically.

For example, a paid Google Advertising provides you with word by word conversion data. This information can help determine which keywords to target and optimize for via SEO and use in your next SEM campaign, ultimately increasing your click-through and conversion rates – on both sides of the coin!


Want more information on SEO or help with lead capture? Ask our Digital Marketing Experts about how we can help!