First of all in order to discuss how SEM and SEO are different, we must first define each of them. By defining these two terms it will be much easier to illustrate how they are different and how, as an online business owner, you need both to succeed online.
SEO - Search engine optimization. This is the method of using a variety of tactics to improve and influence your rankings on search engine results in a positive way so that your website appears near the top or at the top of the results page when a user performs a search which includes the keywords associated with your website and brand.
SEM - Search engine marketing is the method of marketing via search engines. This also involves tactics and it ensures that you are visible to those who are searching with keywords that are associated with your business brand. SEM can also help to influence your ranking on the search engines but it comes after SEO in terms of over-all ranking influence. SEM involves formal marketing campaigns and tactics which are performed on search engines. For example, pay per click and Good Adverts and Good AdWords.
This is where the confusion can sometimes come in. Because these two are closely linked and similar there is a misconception that they are one and the same. This is not the case and in fact, you can deliver an entire SEO plan for your business and it may not include SEM. Conversely, if you develop and deliver an SEM plan, it by definition will be part of an overarching SEO plan.
SEO can be easily defined as the strategic development of tactics which are designed to ensure your URL has the highest possible position on any given search engine. One way of achieving this and one hugely effective tactic is to use SEM.
And this is where the difference is. SEM is all about specific marketing via search engines. It involves keywords, pay per click and AdWords, but it also involves in-depth monitoring and analysis of metrics for your website so you can monitor activity levels and hits, visits and bounce rates to your website.
In order to get the best from your SEO and SEM you need to build the right foundations. If you are unsure how to do this you should work with a good professional team who will be able to guide you and help you by using their own expertise and knowledge to develop a plan which will help you achieve your online targets and aspirations.
Working with a professional team will save you time and money, it will also help you avoid some of the pitfalls that some other companies may have fallen in to while they attempted to learn about internet marketing and SEO for themselves. A good team will work with you to develop a plan that suits your budget and gives you the return on investment that will justify your outlay and give you the results you seek.