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Learn The Differences Between SEO and SEM

18 Dec 2020

Any digital marketing professional needs a solid grasp on the difference between SEO and SEM and the role they play for a digital marketing strategy. Read on to discover the meaning of each of these marketing channels and how they work together.

What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a component of SEM that involves the use of ORGANIC tactics to optimize website content and ensure that it will show up more prominently in SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

SEO techniques are grouped into three categories: On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, and Technical SEO.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to optimization efforts of all elements that can be found, controlled, and shown on the website including textual and visual content, technical set-up, code quality, user-friendliness of site, and many more.

By optimizing individual web pages, the goal is to make the site usable and valuable for target audience, earn relevant traffic, rank higher in search engines, and increase conversion rates.

On-page SEO strategy must focus on these factors:

  • URL
  • Title Tag
  • Heading Tags
  • Alt Tags
  • Meta Description
  • Keywords
  • Content
  • Images
  • Speed
  • Internal linking

On-Page SEO Strategies

  1. Search Intent
    To rank for specific keywords/topics, create content based on what searchers are looking for, what search engines are telling about your target readers’ search history, and what’s on current top-tanking pages.
  2. Page Speed
    Slow-loading pages are annoying and bad for user experience – even if you rank #1. Get recommendations from professional site auditing tools on how to make sure your page loads fast such as eliminating unnecessary HTML or reducing image sizes.
  3. Target Keywords
    Strategic placement of exact-match keywords affects site relevance and site ranking. Place target keywords in the title, H1 tags, meta description, and wherever else it makes sense to do so.
  4. URLs
    Use short, descriptive URLs to let users know what to expect from the page. Include target keywords, if possible, to boost ranking factor.
  5. Alt Tags for Images
    If images on a page fail to load, alt tags will show up on user screen to describe said images. Aim to describe your images as accurately as possible.
  6. Topical Relevance
    This has something to do with ‘co‐occurrence’. Using semantically related words and phrases increases page relevance and lets Google know that your page provides the best result for those target words and phrases.
  7. Content
    Search engines evaluate dwell time, time on page, and other user signals to attribute rankings for specific pages and sites. If your copy is complicated or too difficult to understand, it increases the chance of visitors hitting the back button. It’s best to keep copy nice and simple.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is a persuasion technique that encourages users into believing that your site offers something interesting, relevant, and valuable for them. Some off-page SEO strategies include acquiring high-quality backlinks from other websites, optimizing social media profiles, managing directory profiles and local listings as well as attracting information from social bookmarking sites.

Technical SEO

These are optimization efforts focusing on the non-content elements of a site to ensure that search engines can discover, crawl, and index each page.

What is SEM?

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is any form of digital marketing effort that utilizes PAID tactics in which the end goal is for a website to have better performance and increased visibility in search engines.

How do SEO and SEM relate to each other?

  • The use of keywords is crucial to both SEO and SEM techniques towards achieving the same goal which is to increase website traffic.
  • Both require knowing your target audience including how they act or what they are looking for in a website.
  • Your SEM efforts will only have a greater chance for success if your website is deemed as SEO-friendly.
  • SEM can help you get traffic fast but SEO can help you build a more successful online presence which means the impact of SEM can be experienced immediately but the impact of SEO might take a while before you can notice it.

If you want more information about how you can take advantage of SEO or SEM for your digital marketing strategy, contact us today for a FREE consultation.

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