What Is SEM?

How desirable is a place at the top of the Google results page? Consider this: American companies will spend over $75 billion on SEO in 2019. While SEO is an effective marketing practice, it’s also boring. Even marketers admit that a positive return on investment in SEO usually takes 1-2 years.

When you’re looking for faster results, all is not hopeless. SEM can help drive high levels of targeted traffic to your website much faster than SEO. You’re scratching your head and wondering “What is SEM?” Read on to find out the difference between SEM and SEO and how SEM can benefit your business!

Not so long ago, search engine marketing (SEM) was a term that referred to both organic and paid methods of improving search engine visibility. However, when marketers today mention SEM, they most likely mean the practice of buying web traffic through paid search platforms like Google Ads and Bing Ads. On the other hand, search engine optimization (SEO) is all about bringing visitors to your website through organic results.

Two common synonyms for SEM are pay-per-click marketing (PPC) and paid search advertising. Almost half of all small businesses in the US use SEM. Of the companies that use SEM, 86% also use SEO.

Use both? Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of SEM and how it compares to SEO.

What are the advantages of SEM? Here are some significant benefits of SEM over an organic SEO strategy: Ensures instant web traffic
Converts at a higher conversion rate
Makes it easier to measure ROI
Google algorithm updates do not

However, remember that SEM can be a lot more expensive than SEO. This is especially true in industries where keywords cost more than $100 per click. Therefore, SEM is a short-term solution for most small businesses.

You may need to constantly adjust your SEM strategy when you’re just starting out. But if you find a PPC strategy that works, you can step up your efforts.