The phrases SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) are similar — and sometimes used interchangeably, SEO and SEM are different services.
Most small businesses owners know a little something about SEO (search engine optimization) and the different tactics to help your website rank well in organic search engine results. Another important tactic for Internet business is SEM (search engine marketing) which includes things such as search engine optimization, paid listings and other search-engine related services.
While the two phrases are similar and sometimes used interchangeably, SEO and SEM are different.
The Difference Between SEM and SEO
SEM is a broader term than SEO. Where SEO aims to provide better organic search results, SEM uses the search engines to advertise your website or business to Internet customers and send a more targeted traffic to your Web site.
For example, when people use a search engine to query “fashion handbags”, the organic search engine results is where SEO technologies can assist your Web site in being more visible. The paid advertising, or sponsored links are the ones prominently displayed above or beside the organic search results is a product of SEM.
SEO and SEM are not competing services. SEO is considered a subset of SEM services. If you want to conduct business on the Internet you need to be visible in both organic and advertised links, which means you need both SEO and SEM.