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Search Engine Marketing: Benefits and Differences with SEO

Last updated: Oct 14, 2022

What is SEM (Search Engine Marketing)?

SEM, or search engine marketing, is a paid marketing strategy to increase website visibility on search result pages (SERP). The way it works is by displaying website ads in search results for certain keywords that you have targeted.

The way to distinguish ads from paid search with organic search results on the SERP is to look for the words 'ad' or 'ads' in the search results of the website. 

The Differences between SEM and SEO

For those of you who are new to digital marketing, SEM and SEO sound similar. Both of them use search engines as a marketing medium. However, the two are very different.

You can find the difference between SEM and SEO in terms of their audience, time, budget, and potential CTR. Check out the full explanation of the differences between SEM and SEO below:

Based on the Audience

Audience targeting is one of the main differences between SEM and SEO. In this case, the advantage of search engine marketing is that you can set the target audience who will see your ad. That way, you can determine the demographics, geography, and keywords used to describe their interests and habits.

SEM is different from search engine optimization. It requires you to create content first before you perform the optimization. After that, you can analyze whether the targeted audience is appropriate or not.

Based on the Period of Time

SEM and SEO will not give instant results. Both need processes, analysis, and trials to eventually find the right formula. However, SEM can provide faster results when compared to SEO.

SEM will also not be able to be implemented in the long run. It will only run as long as the budget and ads are still running. Unlike SEO, which will always give results as long as your website is still operating.

Providing results that can be obtained quickly makes SEM more widely used in campaigns with conversion objectives.

Based on the Budget

Both SEM and SEO require a budget. However, the use of the two budgets is not the same. The difference between SEM and SEO in using a budget is based on how these two strategies work.

SEM requires a budget so that ads can keep running, which means more budget is used for advertising. As for SEO, the budget is used for website maintenance and content production that is carried out in the long term.

Based on Potential CTR

While SEM can provide faster results, SEO has a higher CTR. This is influenced by the behavior of search engine users, who tend to avoid websites with the words 'ads' on the SERP.

SEM Benefits for Websites

Of course, after knowing what SEM is and how it differs from SEO, you will also want to know what the benefits of SEM are for your website. Some of the benefits of search engine marketing that you can get are as follows:

Increased Conversion Rate

Search engine marketing is an advertising method that uses keywords to target ads. Advertisers can determine what keywords to target.

If you target keywords with purchase search intent, website visitors obtained from these ads will be more easily directed to convert. Thus, SEM can increase the conversion rate of a website.

Instant Results

When running SEM, you don't have to wait months for results. Improved website performance can be seen immediately after the ad is run. Of course, you have to set up good ad settings in order to get your webpage a high position on the SERP.

You can also extend or stop the ad serving period. This setting is adjusted to your needs and budget.

Increased Website Visibility

Search engine marketing is a strategy that can increase website visibility quickly. This is because websites that run SEM will appear at the very beginning of the SERP, even above the first ranking of organic search results.

Budget Can be Adjusted

You can adjust the budget for ads that run in SEM according to your ability. You can use a small budget at the beginning to do A/B testing. If your ad works well, you can increase your budget to increase your results.

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