SEO Vs. SEM - What's the Difference?

SEO Vs. SEM - What's the Difference?

In a fight that has waged on for decades, Project 80/20, Delaware SEO, Copywriting and Video Production company, breaks down the importance of both SEO and SEM and who wins the battle for your business. As a business owner, you’re faced with hundreds, if not a thousand decisions every day. Many of those decisions come in the form of how you’ll market to new customers. When looking at SEO and SEM for that matter, much of the confusion lays in the fact that these two similar marketing strategies in fact aren’t similar at all. Project 80/20, Delaware SEO specialists explains below!


A simple definition of SEO is: the act of optimizing your website to rank higher on a search engine. If you’re doing SEO in Delaware or SEO anywhere for that matter, you’re most likely going to be tailoring your website optimization for Google. The question arises, how do I optimize my website? You might say that your website displays all the information your customer might need. It has pictures of your company, reviews and a price list. So what would I have to do to optimize it?


Optimizing for SEO

There are three pillars in SEO for optimizing your website for Google.

A keyword is any word or string of words (phrase) that are specific or synonyms to your brands business niche. Meaning if your company sells blue jeans, you might target the keyword, jeans. You might also target the keyword, blue jeans in Delaware. Which is better for your company’s brand? That’s where Project 80/20 can help guide you along the process of understanding which keywords are right for your company!

User Experience relates to the ease of use your website provides to your customers. Have you ever gone to a friends house and felt uncomfortable because of the mess surrounding you? Their oven doesn’t work properly so you’ve got to wait a little extra for dinner to be done and by the time you finally get home it’s already late and you’re exhausted and have considered never going over there again. Relating to a website, that would be considered a poor user experience and Google recognizes when your site is not only slow, but clunky and uncomfortable to use.

Links are the juice that give your website energy. Consider links as road maps to and from your website that tell Google your website is legit. If you have no links at all, Google might find your website slow and unusable. If you have linked specific words in your main copy to other parts of the website Google will find your site a breeze to travel through. Externally, if a company links to your website, Google will find your website more reliable and you’ll thusly rank higher.



We now understand SEO a bit more. But what the heck is the difference between SEO and SEM? Where SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. Can you guess which costs more? Search engine marketing is the action of purchasing ad space in Google for specific and related keywords. We’ll consider jeans again. Your business could run an SEM campaign for the following keywords: jeans, blue jeans in delaware, tight fitting blue jeans in Wilmington, Delaware. You’ll pay a set amount to rank at the top of Google for x amount of dollars.



What’s the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

So now you know the difference between SEO and SEM but you’re not quite sure which is best for your company. No problem. Project 80/20 has a great analogy to clear this up for you. Imagine you’re at the top of Mount Everest. You’re surrounded by a crystal clear view of the Himalayas on all sides and you and your crew just took their first selfie. Thinking back on your journey, you remember all the hours of work required just to get to the base camp and the amount of effort it took just to reach the summit. Now anytime you want to climb your next summit, you’re prepared and know all the right steps required to reach your goal. That’s SEO.

While you’re about to leave the peak and return to camp you hear the sound of a helicopter. Our good friends at SEM have arrived to the top of Mount Everest with coffee in their hands. Unfortunately for them the wind is starting to blow and their closest landing place is on a peak some miles away. But let’s not get into the cost this crew incurred to get here.

What’s the Solution?

So you see, the true difference between SEO and SEM is really long term vs short term priorities. In the long term with SEO, your company will spend less money and will always arrive to your goal with a great understanding of how you got there. The years to come will be both successful and easier with a strong SEO strategy.

SEM is fast and powerful, placing you at the top of Google for most of the keywords you want but it’s expensive and makes it difficult to grow an organic, consistent customer base. You run into the issue of bot traffic gobbling up all the traffic you’re paying for and many customers are turned off by the fact that they’ve reached your website through an AD. That’s why Project 80/20 in Wilmington, Delaware always recommends SEO over SEM.


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Sam Inden - Founder of Project 80/20

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  • Top Video Contributor

    SEO scared me when I first discovered it.  To the best of my knowledge, SEM had not yet got its name.  Thank you, Sam, for an explanation that is understandable.

    • You're welcome. Thank you too!

  • Top Member

    Wow what an awesome writeup on the subject on SEO and SEM. This is so very important in the SE comunity when publishing blog and video content. I believe this is very helpful for our members and for everyone during online marketing. Happy to have you here and I look forward to reading more blog posts from you in the future. 

    • Thank you - I'm happy to add a helpful article to this community. 

  • Top Commentor

    A nice and straightforward explanation Sam - I like that. And your presentation itself demonstates some of your points in play. Getting back to basics is always helpful and rarely a bad idea.Tthis article of yours is no exception.

    • Thank you Tom!

    • Top Member

      Hello Sam I highly recommend that you check out Tom Riach many blog posts. He is an author with a lot of great books published on Amazon. I believe I'm his biggest fan, among many here in the SE community. 


    • I absolutely will check him out - Many thanks for the suggestion. 

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