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SEO and SEM : How are they different and Should we need to use them

SEO and SEM are two words you hear mentioned in any brand or product positioning conversation on the internet. But what exactly are they?

  • SEO is search engine optimization, ie optimization search engines . This refers to how to build your content so that it appears in the first results of the search engines.
  • SEM is search engine marketing, ie marketing on search engines . This refers to the advertising or sponsored links that can be made in search engines.

These strategies are then focused on what is ” search engine marketing “. And what is the search engine that dominates all queries on the internet? That’s right, our dear Google.

I invite you to delve into what the keys to SEO and SEM are : what they are, their differences and why it is important to include them in your digital marketing strategy.

What is SEO

As I mentioned above, the acronym of SEO refers to the strategies used so that the contents (be it a web page, an online store, a blog, etc.) appear in the first results of Google .

This “optimization” in search engines implies understanding (and applying) what are the keys so that when displaying the results of a search, Google recognizes your content as one of the most relevant .

Some of the most important topics are:

  • Page loading speed (the faster the better).
  • Good browsing experience for the user.
  • Relevant content that adds value (that wants to stay on your page as long as possible).
  • Use of keywords (that allow Google to recognize the theme of the content).

What is SEM

SEM, for its part, is a search engine marketing strategy that refers to the direct investment of money. These are known as “Google Ads”, identified on the results page with the tag “advertising”.

These paid ads are hired from keywords in which one wants to appear if a potential buyer performs a Google search for those terms.

For example, if I have a sporting goods store: when someone searches for “Adidas Superstar shoes”, if I appear in the first results, it is very likely that that person enters my store to look for those coveted sneakers.

Then, from the hiring of these paid ads, Google shows in the first search results the content that one has included in the ad.

Why it is important to use SEO and SEM strategies

SEO and SEM strategies became so relevant today (and that is why we hear them named so much) because ranking by the first search engine results has become quite a fierce fight .

Why is it key to be among the first results? Because there is an indisputable reality: the number of clicks, and therefore visits to your store or content, is much higher if one is in the first places of the search results page in Google.

Also, let’s face it, no one (or almost no one) makes it past the first page of results. So if you don’t appear there, it’s basically like you don’t exist for the person who searched for a keyword related to your brand.

Differences between SEO and SEM

The most important differences between these SEO and SEM strategies are:

  1. Investing money
  2. The time to see results

Paid ad tactics, SEM , can be solved in the short term more quickly. Ads are created with keywords relevant to your business and a few clicks later, your content already appears in search results. The issue in this instance is cost. You will have to invest a specific amount of money up front to pay for those ads.

That cost will depend on the keywords you need to select to advertise your product or brand. The more in demand those words are, the more competition there will be and a higher investment will be needed.

On the other hand, content optimization tactics, SEO , are more long-term since they require more time to be effective. This is because they work in a more organic or natural way. That is, one builds the content in the best possible way (both for the public and for Google to recognize it) and as time passes and the famous search engine identifies it as valuable, it begins to show more.

SEO and SEM: How and where to start?

By now, I imagine I will have convinced you of the relevance of this type of strategy for your digital marketing plan and also about the differences between SEO and SEM.

The next step, then, is to analyze how and where to start in search engine optimization. These are my recommendations:

1) Define your main goals: What are you looking to achieve? Immediate sales? Organic traffic to your store? Get subscribers to your newsletter?
2) Establish your conditions:
What budget do you have? Do you have any requirements at the time level?

3) Determine what type of content you want to spread:
Do you need to promote a specific product? Do you want to make your brand’s blog known?

From these answers, it is time to sort the priorities . Depending on what you want to achieve, you will find the right answer in an SEM strategy, SEO or a combination of both.

Some tips on SEO and SEM

SEO and SEM are disciplines that require dedication . But once you understand how they work and the strategic relevance they represent in the dissemination of your online store or brand content, there is no going back.

For this reason, I want to leave you some tips for you to take into account when starting to plan SEO positioning campaigns and ads with SEM .

  • Your priority has to be the user experience:  Providing the most valuable information to the public is what will lead you to success. By seeing that the people who click on your link stay a considerable time, Google will “reward” you with positions higher in the results.
    On the other hand, you will benefit from having achieved a loyal user (be it a buyer in your store or a reader on your blog) and that, most likely, they will visit you again.
  • Do not try to fool Google:  The famous search engine has a fairly complex algorithm to choose which are the most appropriate results to show for a certain search. If you try to cheat him (for example, by generating content only for the algorithm, but not for the benefit of users) he will eventually find out and penalize you.
  • Measure everything you can:  The results measurement stage of any strategy you decide to carry out is key. This way you will be able to evaluate how it worked and if it is really worth continuing to invest in it.

I hope this information has helped you introduce you to the magical world of search engine optimization. Don’t let that scare you, as once you start working on SEO and SEM strategies, the results are amazing. Luck!

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