SEO vs SEM Comparison: It’s More than A Battle of TLAs


knight chess pieces used two illustrate seo vs sem comparisonLet’s get the acronyms straight before we begin.

SEM = Search Engine Marketing

SEO = Search Engine Optimization

Both are terms used to describe activities carried out in online marketing. Many people are as confused about what they mean as they are about all the elements in web marketing that impact their success in attracting clients online.

(TLA = Three Letter Acronym, of course, something more essential to modern business than electricity.)

SEM – What Most Businesses Need

Search engine marketing is a term we use to describe a holistic approach to online, or web, marketing.  Success online requires more than just appearing in search results.  It includes the following aspects:

  • Getting the marketing message right
  • Finding out what search audience you need
  • Determining whether Social Media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.) should play a roll
  • Making sure your website addresses the needs of your target audience
  • Evaluating whether you should include paid search marketing in your program (some people actually apply “search engine marketing” only to paid search, which we believe is the wrong way to use the term)
  • And the list goes on

In other words, an SEM Agency must be able to evaluate your web marketing from top to bottom.  If you hire a typical SEO tech, they will likely not be equipped to address the marketing side of your business equation.  (Here’s an article on SEO vs. SEM that we almost agree with)

SEO – Something that SEM Cannot Do Without

Search engine optimization is more about the mechanics of making sure your web pages perform well in search results.  By “perform well,” we mean that they are found by the search engines, understood by the search engines, and given the highest possible rankings to the greatest applicable audience with the least amount of cost.  SEO is definitely something we at Horizon Web Marketing take seriously.  In fact we have invested a significant part of our team budget in ongoing training for our SEO techs so that they are equipped to provide exactly that service.

To see how the Horizon team can address your business with a complete Search Engine Marketing program, call us or contact us today.

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