SEO and SEM: differences and integrated strategy


SEO and SEM are the two pillars. In a historical period in which the web represents a fundamental part of people’s lives, there has been an absolute explosion of digital marketing based on SEO and SEM, different from each other but aiming at an integrated strategy. 

It is essential to start by analyzing the differences between these two marketing strategies to study how to combine them to optimize the positioning of a website.

When we talk about SEO, we refer to a set of practices to improve positioning within the search engine ranking, in the results defined as pure or organic as they are not paid. When we talk about SEM, we mean both yielded search results and organic ones.

Does SEM include SEO?

Let’s start with the literal meaning of SEO and SEM. The term SEO is the acronym for “search engine optimization”, which means “optimization for search engines”; with SEM, on the other hand, we mean “search engine marketing”, i.e. marketing through search engines. So doing SEO means optimizing a web page to be at the top of the search engine rankings concerning the keyword being searched; instead, doing SEM means adopting all the marketing practices necessary to register an increase in a website’s incoming traffic when specific keywords are searched. 

Common mistake

As per Nova SEO Services a common mistake is the one that leads to reducing the SEM with the simple SEA, i.e. the activities aimed at creating AdWords campaigns or with the SMO, search engine optimization. In reality, SEM represents an umbrella under which both SEA and SMO are included and SEO, so there are many similarities between the two activities; in fact, both SEO and SEM pay close attention to the keywords that represent the fundamental element of these activities. Another aspect that unites the two web marketing activities is represented by the definition of an editorial plan aimed at the return on investment.


SEm and SEO must be integrated for short and long term results

In addition to these elements that unite the two strategies, there are substantial differences, while the SEO aims at the short, medium, and long term, with a constant updating of the contents posted on the web, the SEM aims at the short time., whoever deals with this activity works at present, trying to improve the results obtained constantly. 

Read more : 13 Most harmful Mobile SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Another significant difference concerns the type of investments; regarding SEO, the investment is related to human resources and can be amortized over time, while with SEM, the capital is re-invested quickly, and the costs are not they are amortized except in the short term. Although with the appropriate differences, the two activities tend to integrate to obtain the best results the SEO aims for a long time and get credibility both towards the search engine and the average user. 


In contrast, the SEM aims to achieve maximum visibility in the shortest possible time. Having made this analysis, it is clear why the integrated strategy between SEO and SEM is an essential factor for carrying out the digital marketing activity in an optimal way and why, therefore, contacting a web agency that counts on a team of different professionals in the sector can lead to faster but at the same time more lasting results.

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