What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? How Does It Differ from SEO?

Search engine marketing is a form of internet marketing. It focuses on researching, submitting and positioning a website within various search engines. Doing so enables the website to gain optimal levels of visibility. At the same time, it enhances the level of paid and / or organic traffic referrals generated by the search engines. At its core, SEM involves the use of:

Paid listings
Competitive analysis and,
Keyword research

However, SEM is not synonymous with SEO. Nor should you treat SEO and SEM as competing services. If at all, SEO is a subset of SEM services. SEO utilises various strategies to make your website accessible to a search engine. This helps you achieve better organic search results.

In contrast, SEM enables you to utilise paid links and advertisements for targeting search engine users and directing the traffic to your website. Businesses operating on the internet need both, organic and advertised links. Consequently, they need to ensure that they utilise SEO and SEM for optimal results.

Therefore, when people enter a specific query on a search engine, the good SEO practices of various websites give them first page visibility in terms of the search engine results. However, search engines also display other sponsored links prominently besides the organic search results. These paid links are products of SEM.

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