SEO and SEM: How they Differ and How they Relate

Still confused with SEO and SEM? You are not alone. Here’s a quick guide on the main difference between these two digital marketing practices and in which aspects they overlap.

What sets them apart?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) focuses on optimizing a website so that it gets traffic from organic search results. Search Engine Marketing (SEM),on the other hand,uses both organic and paid search to achieve traffic.

Still not clear enough? Put it this way: a search engine results page has two main sections: the paid search results and the organic (non-paid) search results. Your website may appear on the organic section of the results with the help of SEO. But it may also appear on the paid section through the use of Pay Per Click (PPC). Now,SEO has its full attention on the organic results while SEM uses both SEO and PPC for better chances of getting traffic.

As you may have realized,SEM is the broader approach for it involves both SEO and PPC. With PPC,marketers would bid on a particular keyword their client would like to focus on. When a user searches for that keyword,the ad would show up. The ads’ ranking depends on how much the marketer is bidding. The highest bidder obviously gets the prime spot,where it appears above the other ads. When the user clicks on your add,you must pay the search engine whatever amount that you bid,thus the term Pay Per Click.

SEO,on the other hand,involves a number of practices. It includes on-page SEO (optimizing your website around the targeted keywords),off-page SEO (building high-quality backlinks to your website),and technical SEO (making sure webpages are crawled and indexed by the search engine through proper site architecture,mobile-friendliness,etc.)

Consult with a reputable SEO agency in Hong Kong to learn more about your SEO and SEM options.

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