SEO and SEM are two groups of activities carried out to drive traffic to a site through search engines. For the same final result (website traffic, in fact), they are characterized by different economic and temporal logics and therefore by specific areas of application.

Are SEM and SEO alternatives? Are they two sides of the same coin? Can their respective businesses coexist or is it better to keep them separate?

SEO SEM meaning

Before going into technical considerations, it is better to start by giving a definition to those who are the 2 protagonists of the post. No, I’m not talking about myself and Lorenzo, but about SEM and SEO.

SEO meaning

The acronym SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and indicates the set of activities aimed at free (organic) positioning of a web page among the first results of a search engine. SEO is highly recommended for all pages on the site. In particular, it gives its best when applied to a blog editorial plan.

Related Post: Three SEO management tips for non-SEOs

I contribute to the final goal of climbing the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) 3 types of activities:

SEO on-page

Activities carried out directly on the web page such as the choice and insertion of keywords or the correct compilation of HTML tags useful for making you “recognize” By Google.

Off-page SEO

Actions done outside the page and therefore difficult to control. Usually the off page SEO is attributable to the acquisition of back links from an external site, which is read by Google as a sign of authority.

SEO technique

Includes all the backend work that can be done on the page or, better yet, on the whole domain (url, html code …).

Do you want to deepen the topic? Read Roberta’s post ” SEO Meaning and Examples of Seo Optimized Site “.

SEM meaning

SEO fanatics, feel good! First let’s clarify the words. SEM, Search Engine Marketing, includes all marketing activities aimed at increasing the visibility of the website and improving its indexing in search engines. So far you will say, SEO does it too, yes but with SEM you don’t have to wait months for results!

In common language the term SEM Marketing is used to indicate advertising campaigns sponsored on search engines, in particular those carried out on Google Ads.

Here these are all SEM activities.

The sites that appear with “Ad” written on them have invested the budget on Google Ads, have selected the keywords they want to appear for and have secured the top positions of the search results within a couple of hours, the time to put the campaign online. Interesting isn’t it?

Not everyone knows that SEM activities are not limited to this, for example SEM also includes the inclusion of paid links within a blog post article.

Of course, behind the SEM there is always the investment of money … but the results it brings are immediate and most of the times really surprising for your business!

Do you want to know all the tools needed to set up a profitable advertising strategy? Click here and get the free Advertising Power guide !

Related Post: SEO, what it is and why it is important

How SEO and SEM work?

After the ritual definitions, we come to the point and understand how SEO and SEM work, to then define when it is convenient for one and when the other.

How to do SEO?

How can a web page rank among the first places in the SERP in an organic way? Through the coincidence between the keyword / keywords included in the page content and the user’s search query. The trick therefore consists in identifying the need of our target, translating it into a possible search string and using this same string to propose a solution within the web page. Let’s take an example.

If our buyer person wants to understand “how to find new customers online”, we should create web pages that respond to this need, inserting SEO keywords such as “how to find customers”, “find new customers online” or “how to acquire new ones customers”.

Cheating is prohibited! Google’s algorithm is intelligent, so it is able to recognize the content of the page. If he sees that your page is not responding to the user’s need, he will not reward you.

SEO Keyword Research

To find the best SEO keywords I recommend using specific SEO tools: tools that suggest the most suitable keywords (by search volume and positioning difficulty) starting from a database of queries actually typed by those who use search engines. The tools preferred by NYC SEO specialists are Seozoom and Semrush , which offer a free version and additional paid features.

If instead you are looking for a less demanding tool then I recommend free tools such as Google Trends and Answer The Public (excellent for feeding your editorial plan).

How does SEM work?

Are you convinced that SEM is the right way to drive traffic to your website? So let’s see together how Search Engine Marketing works.

Paid search engine campaigns start by selecting a series of keywords that your customers use online to search for solutions to their problem and find your product or service.

The search for the right keywords is the most important and also the most complex part: in fact, you must be sure to identify all the keywords used and be careful not to enter misleading keywords that can be traced back to products other than yours.

The next step is to create advertisements that describe the proposed product or service. In these texts it is important to use the keywords entered in the campaign and some terms present on your landing page to maximize your ads.

Expert tip: Divide your keywords by products or phases of the buyer’s journey  and build different ad groups for each of them. In this way, each user will see the most suitable content for their request.

SEM keyword

To be sure not to miss a single shot at this stage, I recommend you rely on tools for keyword research ; the most precise is the Keyword Planning Tool made available by Google Ads which also provides data for estimating the results obtainable with that panel of keywords.