The Difference Between SEM & SEO and What You Need to Know

In the past few years working with clients, at Creativeo noticed that there seems to be a mystic cloud floating over search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) causing some confusion. For instance, we often notice individuals assume SEO and SEM are same things, which is far from the truth. Let's take a moment to demystify SEO and SEM, and we'll try our best to attempt to explain what each point means in as quickly as we can. Then, we'll walk through some quick starters to make sure you're maximizing your digital marketing efforts. For this conversation, we'll use Google, and it's products as our primary search engine platform.

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

SEM is using Google's advertising tool, Google AdWord, to create paid ads that show up on Google's search results page when specific search words/terms are used.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO is finding the most efficient way to make sure Google reads your website well, leading to a higher search result position on Google

In other words, SEM is a paid advertisement that is shown based on chosen words/terms whereas SEO is are free methods to help Google interpret your website better.

So what does that mean for your business?

You should actively seek to understand SEM and SEO as they can be advantageous to the growth of your business. Why? With 3.5 billion Google searches happening every day, it's become almost human nature to "Google" something. Looking for marketing strategy? Google it. Weird rash on your back? Google it. Google has nearly become an extension of our consciousness.

What are some ways I can start using SEM and SEO to my advantage right now?

With SEM, though intimidating, it can be simpler than it looks. Google makes it very easy to start an autonomous campaign based on a daily budget you set to get you started. The hard part is deciding what your approach will be, will you target search terms of customers looking for your business? Or will you target your competitors search terms? There are many options, and we're more than happy to chat with you to find what's best for you.

With SEO, we've written an article about four essential elements every website must have to not only perform well for users but will help Google read your site, and rank you higher in search results. In addition to these four things, I would recommend the following:

  1. Google Reviews - Google heavily favours businesses that are well reviewed and will make those websites more visible in specific ways. Head over to Google My Business and set-up your account right now. remember to get your customers to leave a review
  2. Keywords in Headlines - With the way everyone searches on Google, search phrases has nearly become a language in itself. It's important to consider the words your customers use to find your business. Often, keywords searches happen on a city level. For example, search terms like "dental office in scarborough" or "used car dealer toronto" are often used. Do a few Google searches and see which ones your website site is shown on. Once you've found these search terms, use them as headlines on your website, Google notices small things like this and will reward your effort.
  3. Mobile Friendly Website - With more than half of Google searches being done on a mobile device, it is so important that your website caters to mobile users. Ever had the frustration of browsing through a desktop website with fat thumbs on a mobile device? Google favours mobile-friendly websites (better yet, a responsive site, that's another write-up) and your users will thank you.

These are some quick tips to get your marketing strategy up to par. As always, we'd be happy to discuss these things with you. And better yet, help brainstorm and execute your own custom digital marketing strategy for maximum performance. Feel free to fill out the form below now to improve & grow your business.

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