The difference between SEO, SEM and PPC

The digital marketing industry can be confusing to those unfamiliar with it, especially if they are unfamiliar with all the acronyms and platforms. When I started in the paid search industry in 2008, I thought my friend who told me about JumpFly worked in “paper clip” marketing because she kept talking about pay-per-click. And I wondered how much marketing an agency could do for a single product like a paper clip.

Turns out my ignorance of the digital ad space is pretty common. One of the questions often asked of our sales team is: “What is the difference between SEM (search engine marketing), SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay per click) ?”

For me, it was easier to think of online advertising and SEM as one big umbrella with PPC and SEO underneath.

For SEM to deliver optimal results, PPC and SEO efforts must be in place. But what is the difference between PPC and SEO? The main distinction between these two sides of the same coin is that PPC is paid while SEO is not. That doesn’t mean SEO is free, because there’s a cost to creating compelling, well-optimized content for your website, but with SEO, there’s no cost per click like there is with PPC.

The concept of PPC is relatively simple. It’s in the name itself: pay-per-click. When you set up a PPC account, you create advertising campaigns containing keywords that users would use to search the internet for goods and/or services offered by your business. These keywords are sorted into ad groups and the ads are written to convey your brand message. You then decide how much you’re willing to spend on clicks to drive traffic to your website using those keywords. Once your online campaigns and ads are approved, you start getting clicks – and paying for them, from a penny to hundreds of dollars, depending on keyword competitiveness and other factors. Once users land on your website, the PPC part of SEM is complete.

With SEO, it’s not that simple. Although you are not paying for your clicks or your position in sponsored search results, you are paying an SEO agency or a member of your own staff to create and optimize content that will help your page rank higher in the game. organic from the search engine results page. (SERPs). Google’s spiders and algorithms crawl, index, and rank every relevant webpage for every searched keyword, and the better your SEO signals, the better your organic rankings will be.

Getting your page to rank higher in the SERP to drive more traffic and conversions is the primary goal of SEO. Achieving better rankings can depend on factors as varied as the technical aspects of crawling and indexing your site, the words that populate the content your visitors see, the metadata in the code of your pages , the strength of your blog posts and other informative content. , and the backlinks that other sites on the Internet create to your pages. SEO often intersects with other digital marketing disciplines, such as media relations, user experience, web design and development.

While both PPC and SEO are powerful ways to promote your website individually, using both PPC and SEO will help boost your SEM efforts. By covering both the paid and organic aspects of search engine marketing, you give your business the best chance of success on Google and beyond.

Before deciding whether you should do PPC or SEO, maybe consider trying them both out. Casting a wide net will allow you to see what works and what doesn’t. Remember to be patient – SEM, and especially SEO, takes time.

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