Many people use the terms “SEO” and “SEM” interchangeably, unaware that the two are separate digital marketing practices. While different in execution, SEO and SEM share a common goal: drive online traffic and conversions. Springwood Marketing outlines the key differences between SEO vs. SEM and why you need both to support online growth:


SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is designed to support organic growth. SEO practices, like keyword usage and responsive web design, allows marketers to improve their Google ranking for better search engine visibility. However, SEO does not yield immediate results — and implementing SEO strategies is certainly not a one-time thing. You must be consistent with your efforts and continue making website updates and pushing relevant, optimized content.

SEM, also known as Search Engine Marketing or PPC (pay-per-click), supports search engine visibility through paid advertising. With SEM, you bid on ad placement to rank among the top search results for relevant inquiries. Google evaluates the content and functionality of your website, the relevance of your landing page, and the quality of your bid to determine how your ad should be ranked. If your website and content meets all of Google’s criteria, there’s a good chance you will appear among the top search results. SEM provides quicker results than SEO but requires an investment.

Why You Need Both 

If you want prospective customers to find your website, SEO is a must. It’s the bare minimum! Without effective SEO strategies, your website will be lost among billions of other search engine results. While SEO may not secure a specific position on the first page of search results, your Google ranking will improve over time. But why settle for good when you can have great?

When you bid on ad placement with SEM, your chances of outranking your competitors are much higher, especially if you have a well-nurtured, optimized site. Effective SEO not only supports organic growth, but helps you secure the best possible placements with SEM. SEO + SEM is the formula for success.

The professionals at Springwood Marketing specialize in SEO and SEM. ​​All of our plans are custom to your business and include monthly planning meetings with quarterly analytics reports. Interested in learning more? Contact us today!

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