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SEM vs. SEO: What’s the Difference?

Business & Marketing Strategy / April 5, 2020

If you step into the digital marketing world for just one day, your head will quickly fill with acronyms on top of acronyms. After a while, all those letters and random phrases can become really confusing, really fast. Been there. Done that. Ain’t going back. 

That’s why we really aren’t surprised when many of our clients at Lifted Logic ask us about the difference between SEM and SEO. Trust us, it’s more than just a single letter. 

Because we can’t help but give out our knowledge for free (don’t ask us why), read on to learn more about SEM vs. SEO and how strategically using both can boost your website traffic. 

What is SEO?

We’ll start with the one you’ve probably heard the most. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s a marketing strategy used to gain traffic through organic search results. 

That means you aren’t paying for clicks, banner ads, etc. People are coming to you because you have optimized your content and website with keyphrases, learned how to effectively target your audience, and implemented best linking practices (or, you know, you hired someone to do it for you 😉) so that search engines can readily serve your content to the right users.

What is SEO? The Ultimate 2020 Guide to Search Engine Optimization →

What is SEM?

SEM stands for search engine marketing. Basically it’s a strategy that uses paid search marketing and SEO techniques. For example, if you create a PPC (pay-per-click) ad campaign, you want to do keyword research and optimize your content so the ad can reach the right people. 

Here’s an easy way to differentiate SEM vs. SEO: 

SEM = paid

SEO = organic 

But again, the two work best when you use them hand-and-hand. Why choose one when you can have both? Using SEM in conjunction with SEO allows you to optimize your website to gain “free” traffic while speeding up the SEO process with paid marketing. 

Why the Best Digital Marketing Strategies Include Both PPC and SEO →

Not sure where to start with SEM or SEO? Lifted Logic can help.

Learning the difference between SEM vs. SEO is only your first step to creating the best marketing plan for your 2020 goals. Fortunately, you don’t have to go into it alone. Our team at Lifted Logic has our sleeves rolled up, and we’re ready to put in all the work so you don’t have to. 

We are a small-but-mighty digital agency in Kansas City, and we serve a small number of new clients each year so we can dedicate our time and effort toward each project. 

No matter the size, if your company needs help driving web traffic through great SEO and SEM, we’re here to help. We’ve got you covered with high-quality content, superior web development and design, and much, much more.  

To get started, feel free to contact us or you can use our free cost calculator tool today.

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