SEO vs SEM: How Do They Work Together


The increased inclination to digitization has focused multiple businesses from different niches to go for digital marketing. The online marketing services not only complement offline marketing but help reach global customers with little expenditure. Thus, whether it is about generating business profits or creating brand awareness, digital marketing is key to succeeding in the fast-growing competition. Many digital marketers are attracted towards SEO Vs SEM and their possible collaboration. So, let us try to know everything about this digital marketing due that is taking the world by storm.

SEO Vs SEM: Why even go for it?

The world knows the benefits of digital marketing or online promotion of the business. Whether it is about attracting leads, generating business profits, or making a mark online, SEO and SEM are always the first things that come to mind. But implementation can work only if you’re aware of how SEO and Google Adwords works.

No discussions of digital marketing are complete without SEO and SEM. However, both are different approaches of digital marketing to grow business and if optimized together, can yield amazing results. Thus, whenever going for the optimized implementation of digital marketing for any business, the digital business person should understand the power and benefits of SEO and SEM.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a process by which the Search engine crawls to find the effectiveness of the website and distribute rankings to all crawled pages on the basis of eligibility and optimization. Thus, SEO starts with keyword research and the right choice of keywords can invite the right potential users to the website. The aim of SEO is to rank the website to the optimum capacity and attract all possible organic traffic to it.

The top benefits of SEO are:

  • Boost the website credibility: A website that is at the top of the different searches on the search engine is considered as a high-quality and trustworthy source of business or information. Thus, businesses can create online credibility using different SEO techniques.
  • Reduced costs: While observing the SEO minutely, any digital marketer knows that SEO doesn’t cost any great financial burden. If a business chooses to do SEO themselves, it doesn’t cost a single penny. It is all about researching the keywords, incorporating them, and managing your website rankings.
  • Rank better in local searches: If you want a business to rank high in the local searches, SEO is the first strategy. The use of the best keywords can help businesses shine at the top of the local searches.
  • Improves user engagement: The quality traffic doesn’t only generate business revenues but improves the customer engagement. The customers who stay longer on your website have great chances of placing orders or drop leads.

What is SEM (Google Adwords)?

Search Engine Marketing or SEM is the process of incorporating different paid online advertisements for the business. Thus, SEM uses keywords and places them effectively on the pages. The main SEM strategies include targeted or paid ad campaigns, advertisement writing using selective keywords, bidding for the popular keywords, etc. It also includes monitoring the key parameters like cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through rates (CTR).

The purpose of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Google Adwords is to show ads on top placements of Google Search Engine. Because maximum potential users are going to make decisions from the first page only.

The top benefits of SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are:

  • Creating geo-targeted search ads: Any business looking to target an audience from a specific region can go for the Google Adwords strategies. Thus, specifying the country, city, and area can help digital marketers place ads in the concerned area to target prospective audiences.
  • Quick results: SEO takes time to rank your website while SEM is bound to deliver quick results.
  • Increasing traffic through Ads visibility: The attractive advertisement creation helps in leading the interested customers to the business website. Thus, it is all about implementing optimized bidding for keywords, creating ad messages, and placing at the right position for generating website traffic.
  • Measuring performance: The key performance indicators need to be monitored properly to have an effective SEM. Thus, SEM doesn’t only generate profit, creates online brand visibility but helps in consistent monitoring of the different initiatives.

Also Read: SEO vs PPC: Which Is Right for Your Website

SEO vs SEM: What is the difference?

Before finding the details about the seamless collaboration of SEO and SEM, it is crucial to understand the difference between both of them. The detailed approach helps in understanding the basic difference and hence finding and analyzing the best ways to bring on board an effective partnership between the two. So, let us first understand the detailed difference between SEO and SEM.

The fight between the SEO vs SEM is based on the different approaches to online advertising only. Many times Search Engine Marketing or SEM is considered as a part of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Search Engine Marketing or SEM is many times restricted to paid advertising. This is due to the concept that it generates website traffic through paid ads. Search Engine Optimization or SEO, on the other hand, works on unpaid traffic only. The acquiring, monitoring, and analyzing the organic traffic comes under SEO only.

SEO is thus a practice to rank the business website in the non-paid search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO is divided into on-page SEO, off-page SEO, Technical SEO, advanced SEO. SEM includes PPC that has detailed steps like bidding, quality score, Ad copy, Ad groups, account management, etc. The search engine-generated keywords remain at the heart of the SEO and SEM and hence can be designed according to the business-related keywords.

Broadly speaking, businesses with limited budgets start with SEO and then can slowly go for the SEM. The PPC costs are relatively low compared to the highly qualified leads that are offered by this campaign, along with increased website traffic. Not to miss, SEM has great efficiency in delivering results due to qualified leads, while organic traffic works only if the website is SEO-friendly.

How do SEO and SEM work together?

While having an eagle’s eye at the main points of the SEO Vs SEM, let us bring out some similarities to have a clear path for their collaboration. The first and the most prominent link are the researched keywords. Both SEO and SEM require dedicated keywords for providing a base to the different digital marketing strategies. The resultant should be increased website traffic from both strategies. The organic results of SEO and paid results of SEM ensure that business websites can be at the top of the different searches on different platforms. SEO and Google Ads (PPC) also ensure targeting needy users. People go to search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc), not social media to search for desired products/ services/ solutions.

SEO process forces experts to make website mobile-friendly, install SSL, reduce webpages loading time, decrease bounce rate. This supports the SEM process as well.

So what is the right time to start this partnership? Let us understand that SEO techniques can’t yield immediate results. The paid ads, on the other hand, offer quick results that are consistent over a period of time. Thus, if you have a newly created website, it is best to start the SEO of the website and PPC techniques simultaneously. The website will take some time to reflect on the search engine and by the time rankings are obtained, your business may generate some qualified leads from the sponsored ads. If you own a good ranking website, it creates a perfect pitch to initiate the SEM while continuing the dedicated SEO work.

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Future expectations:

Like the trend and demands currently, digital marketing is dominated by SEO and SEM. These are the two sides of the same coin only that is helping multiple businesses generate profitable revenues. The future technological trends hint at increasing the strength of this powerful relationship. The future trends are not only limited to the following:

  • Technological advancements like artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet-of-Things (IoT) are an indispensable part of digital marketing. These advancements are already gaining momentum in SEO, and AI is generating targeted ads for SEM.
  • It is the time to say goodbye to the slow-loading pages with the advancements of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Project (AMP). The creation of the massive source library is helpful for developers and industry specialists to create fast-loading and mobile-friendly web pages. The AMP is already accredited to increase mobile search and traffic globally.
  • Search Engine Optimization or SEO is progressing to increase the user experience (UX). The leading search engines like Google reward the popular mobile-friendly websites. The websites with great user experience or UX designs are bound to attract more traffic than the ones with boring images and data.

Wrapping Up:

SEO Vs SEM has been a talk of the town for a while in the digital marketing industry. While SEO is linked to inorganic traffic, SEM works on paid traffic. Many leading digital marketers have agreed to the concept that decoding the partnership between SEO and SEM has multiple future benefits. The digital marketing industry is never static, with multiple trends entering the online business. Thus, once you’re able to understand the difference between SEO and SEM, it becomes clear to understand the partnership between the two. Thus, any business aiming to generate profitable revenues can’t refrain from the benefits of both strategies that work effectively in the digital marketing industry.