Before we jump on to the basics of SEO and SEM, let’s define some elements

What is a browser?

A browser is an application or program (software) that allows you to visit websites. The most popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera.

What is a search engine?

A search engine is simply a website that lets you find specific websites by entering the appropriate terms or keywords. The most popular search engines are: Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Ask.

What is Search Engine Optimization or website positioning?

Search engine optimization or website positioning refers to those techniques that improve the visibility of a website in the search results. It helps the website appear in top results in search engines.

Types of search optimization:

SEO (Search engine optimization)

Search engines like Google apply certain criteria  (website authority, quality of content, loading speed, number of internal/external links and other technical issues) to decide in what order the results of a search should appear.

SEM (Search engine marketing)

When we talk about SEM usually we mean ad campaigns or paid search. This involves activities such as search keywords, ad creation, and ad bid management. It is also known as PPC (Pay Per Click) and CPC (Cost Per Click).

Based on the above, search engines will provide two types of results:

  • Organic or natural results (SEO) – NOT PAID
  • Sponsored links or ads  (SEM) – PAID

Example of SEM Vs SEO search results

Main 5 differences between SEO and SEM

Some of the most important differences between SEO and SEM are:

1. Operation:

The criteria used by search engines to display the natural results (SEO) is unknown. The techniques used to improve SEO are based on experience and recommendations provided by the search engine companies from time to time.

Every search engine forms and certifies professionals on the best use and practices of SEM

2. Time to get results:

SEO results are long term.

SEM results are immediate.

3. Results guaranteed:

In  SEO, it is impossible to estimate and guarantee success.

In SEM, results can be estimated fairly accurately.

4. Costs:

Competition in SEO is so high that trying to compete for generic terms (short tail keywords – ie. Buy Car) can be hard and thus useless. Instead, it is better to compete using long tail keywords, ie. Buy Car in Dar es Salaam

You should read this Hubspot article on how to understand keywords.

In the SEM, the price of keywords isn´t constant. It changes depending on several factors: competition, country, language, …

5. Measuring results:

Although it is difficult to measure SEO results precisely. The same can´t be said about SEM results that can be measured with precision.

Final conclusions

SEO is really important!!. It’s good to invest in a good website design and development from the beginning. For SEO purposes, it´s also good to keep updating the site constantly with quality content. You can do this by publishing a blog and using social networks and other forms of media.

On the other hand SEM is vital!!. It provides a quick avenue for you to market directly to your target audience. It also helps you understand a lot about your market and target audience. With SEM you will learn what terms your customers use to describe & search your products and services, and which of these words are more effective to convert them to customers. You’ll also learn what advertising copy is more persuasive, what are the best hours of the day to sell (or make sales calls) and which geographic areas are more profitable.”

If you want to get more information about how SEO and SEM can grow your business by pushing your sales just get in touch with us