SEO | The Relationship With Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

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The beginning of the digital era significantly changed how everything works today, particularly in the business world. Instead of promoting products or services in newspapers, magazines, TV or yellow pages, businesses use the Internet. They learned how to apply their traditional advertising strategies online through email, social media, and search marketing and became what is known today as digital marketing.


Digital marketing refers to any marketing assets or efforts that are online. These assets are websites, video and written content, images, social media pages, and more. When it comes to strategies, two of the most effective ones are search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). 


But how do SEO and SEM complement each other, anyway? 


Let us find out. Here is what you need to know about the relationship between SEO and SEM

What Is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

SEO is the process of optimising a website to make its pages rank higher on search engine result pages (SERPs) organically. The word organically means that potential customers can find one of your site’s pages when they search for something on search engines like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, 


It happens when the bots of search engines “crawl” to the content on a website and assess its effectiveness to attract traffic. That traffic is when a potential customer clicks on the content they found on SERPs, and the more people do that, the higher its search engine ranking would become.


In summary, the benefits of SEO are: 


  • Enhanced Website UsabilitySEO makes websites easier to navigate for search engines, but it simultaneously helps said websites be more navigable for users at the same time.


  • Cost-Effectiveness – It is one of the most cost-effective digital marketing strategies in the market today as it targets consumers online who are actively looking for services or products to purchase.


  • Brand Awareness – Since SEO techniques help your website reach the top position on the results page, this translates to significant impressions and increased exposure for a company’s website and its brand.


ALSO READ: The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Technical SEO

What Is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Think of SEM as advertising something on a broadsheet newspaper, which you have to pay for the ad space and the number of circulation they would produce. That is why SEM usually refers to a pay-per-click form of advertising.


With SEM, companies can create a campaign that targets the best-researched keywords for their products, services, or industry. When a potential customer inputs these keywords and searches online, they will see the word ad right beside it on SERPs, and when they click on the ad, the company will have to pay.  And that is when the pay-per-click got its name from.


Here is an example of what an SEM campaign would look like on search engines. 


Example Of SEM Campaign


READ MORE: How To Create A Successful SEM Campaign?


In summary, the benefits of SEM are:


  • Transparency – All elements involved in SEM campaigns are always on track. That is why companies can know which is performing well and which one is not, based on lead generation and sales.


  • High Conversion Rate – With the digital marketing techniques in SEM campaigns, companies can expect revenue quickly for relatively low investments.


  • More Brand Exposure – Since SEM campaigns are on the top of the search engine result pages, more people would see it when they search for something online.

What Are Their Similarities And Differences?

The main similarity between SEO and SEM is that they both help websites appear and rank high on search results pages. The only difference is that SEM uses paid strategies to appear in searches, while SEO utilises organic methods.


To make it easier to understand, look at this chart below.


SEO And SEM Comparison Chart


How SEO and SEM Complement Each Other?

Both SEO and SEM heavily rely on keywords and search engines to generate and drive traffic to a website. That is why they are not competing services but complementary. Though the methods used for each other are different, both focus on the same thing—traffic flows. 


As mentioned above, traffic flow is when someone clicks on the content on SERPs. They could be anyone in the world that is searching for something, and they could either stumble upon that content by organic results (SEO) or paid results (SEM).


You should know that when someone searches online, they would not know whether it is an SEO or SEM campaign. Most people know that the results shown on SERPs are the most relevant answers or solutions to their inquiries. 


They would not guess which is which since they are irrelevant to them. That is why combining SEO and SEM is very crucial in your digital marketing strategy. If you want more people to find your brand online, you should use both. Doing so would help you reach more potential customers and lead them to your website.


The only problem, however, is that your website should be SEO friendly. Otherwise, combining SEO and SEM to your campaigns would not work. Instead of getting more chance of brand exposure, it would be the opposite. Therefore, make sure to optimise your website first before you release your campaign.


READ MORE: SEO 101: How To Optimise Your eCommerce Website?


Both SEO and SEM are significant for businesses to raise brand awareness online and hopefully generate more traffic, leads and conversions. Just make sure before you publish any campaign, you have added everything, from keywords to links, to gain more traction. 


If you need help creating campaigns for either one of these strategies, reach out to a digital agency in Singapore. Contact OOm at 6391-0930 to help you raise your brand awareness online.


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