“We should be thinking about social and search as channels that need a unified approach because the best content should appeal to both channels and the cross-over benefits/economies of scale are potentially huge.” ~ Will Critchlow, Founder, Distilled, Inc.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are a vital part of any successful digital media marketing strategy. You might have a brilliant website that checks all the boxes regarding the User Interface and User Experience design best practices. In other words, from a theoretical point of view, your site aims to convert visitors into returning customers, with the ultimate goal of driving your sales numbers and increasing your bottom line.
However, there is one small challenge? How does your target audience know that your products or services are available for purchase?
Search Engine Marketing versus Search Engine Optimisation
The answer to the question of how your target audience knows that you are open for business is to alert the consumer that your business has a value proposition (in the way of products or services for sale) by using the best practices and methodologies that fall under the Search Engine Marketing umbrella.
It is worth noting, however, that the terms SEO and SEM can be used interchangeably, but they have different meanings and fulfil different functions. Therefore, before we look why both of these services are vital to ensuring that your business is successful, let’s look at the definition of each as well as the subtle differences between the two.
Search Engine Marketing
Succinctly stated, SEM, also known as Internet Marketing, is the broad term which encompasses the utilisation of a Search Engine to market your brand or products and services. It includes keyword analysis and research, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad programmes, geo-targeted ads, content marketing in the form of guest post blogging, and organic link building.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation, on the other hand, forms part of your overall SEM strategy; however, it is expressly the “practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
Why SEM and SEO?
Now that we have a better understanding of what each concept means, let’s looks at why you need to incorporate both SEM and SEO into your marketing strategy. According to a 1 Source Media Group consultant, “the reason why both SEM and SEO methodologies are an essential part of a successful digital media marketing strategy is that retailers need to position themselves as the only brand that can offer quality products. In order to ensure continual success, a multi-channel approach needs to be adopted and the slight differences between the two provide the retailer with the scope to market his products across all internet channels from paid advertising to social media posts.”
In summary, the takeaway point is that both SEO and SEM fulfil different functions in the overall drive to position your brand as the number one brand in its niche. If you look at the individual definitions of the two terms, it is easy to see that the one cannot exist without the other.