What is SEO and SEM

What is SEO and SEM, How do They Work? Amazing Guide!

With growing users on the internet, there has been also a considerable increase in the content available for them to consume. Approximately 175 new websites come up per minute clocking to around 250,000 new websites created across the world. The competition has gone high and it has become necessary to optimize your web content so that it doesn’t get lost in this crowd. This is where SEO and SEM come handly. The article covers everything about What is SEO and SEM, How can SEO and SEM work together, What is SEO and SEM in digital marketing, the difference, and much more.

What is SEO and SEM

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing  (SEM)  both are channels that help rank websites better in search results and reach the target audience on search engines mainly Google and Bing. These days Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and Flipkart have become search engines themselves and SEO is also performed for these too.

what is seo and sem

What is SEO

SEO means Search Engine Optimisation. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or webpage in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results. Typically, the higher the site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users; these visitors can then be converted into customers. SEO is about getting more clicks by making content easier for searchers to find.

What is SEM

SEM means Search Engine Marketing. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) mainly uses paid services along with SEO. It can be broken down into four core components: search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, display advertising, and mobile advertising. This type of marketing is mainly user-driven as it relies on a user performing a search on a search engine like Google or Bing and clicking on the advertisement that is displayed.

What is SEO and how does it work?

Google analyses a number of factors that help rank your web content rank better. Through Search engine optimization (SEO) these ranking factors are optimized with keywords so that they can reach the target audience. Following are the factors that beginners need to work on to start implementing SEO for their website from scratch:

what is SEO and how does it work

Keyword Research

Once ready with the niche one needs to figure out what queries are people using in search engines. These queries are nothing but keywords. Keyword research is identifying these queries/ words. Keywords are the backbone of SEO and SEM efforts. Once identified what people are searching for? And how many people are searching for it? One can move to the next step of content optimization. For keyword research, there are many tools but you can check out ahrefs.

Content Optimisation

Content needs to have your above-researched keywords, and also needs to be structured well so as to be properly optimized. The content can be structured as follows.

  • The Headline: Forms an important part of content. It is firstmost thing acting as a trigger visible to the audience on search engine results.
  • The Introduction: It helps the audience to stay hooked. Introduce your entire content in short here.
  • Body: It should cover What? Why and How? Example: What is the problem? Why does it need to be solved? How shall one solve it?
  • Conclusion: It is necessary to conclude any conversation well. It is a quick summary that would assert the audience to take a required call to action. Add one line such that it would assure the reader that it was really worth spending time reading this content till the end.

On-Page SEO

Now once you are ready with the optimized content as discussed above. It’s time for optimization of individual website pages which is nothing but On-page SEO. This is needed to increase the relevancy of the content so that search engines can understand the content well. In short, it is labeling the content making search engines aware of where the particular part of the content belongs.

  • Title tags: The title tag is the HTML element specifying the title of the webpage. The headline of your content can be a title. It needs to be less than 60 characters with the keyword in it.
  • Meta description: Meta description is an HTML attribute providing brief summary of a web page. With the size of about 160 characters write a catchy description with the keyword in it.
  • Header tags: Heading tags are secondary title tags that help structure your content in the form of Headings, and subheadings. These have a hierarchy from H1 TO H6.
  • URL: Full form of URL is a universal resource locator. It is an address link to the webpage. Keeping them short in lowercase with keywords is recommended.
  • Images: Images play an important role in any content. One should add an image name with a keyword to the file name and to the Alt tag as well.
  • Content: Unique, well structured, and highly optimized with keywords is the minimum requirement for any content to rank better.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is an off-site activity aimed to rank your content higher ahead of your competitors. The strategy is to increase the trust and worthiness of your content by providing backlinks, and reviews from other users for your content. Once search engines feel that users trust your content they automatically start ranking it higher. This includes:

  • Generating high-quality backlinks.
  • Setting up Google my business and social media accounts generating positive reviews.
  • Other digital marketing techniques help direct users to your content from other platforms.

Technical SEO

Other digital marketing techniques help direct users to your content from other platforms. Technical SEO focus on making technical improvements in indexing, crawlability, speed, mobile-friendliness, structure, and security of the website. Other digital marketing techniques help direct users to your content from other platforms.

  • Setting up tags like canonical, hreflang, index/noindex, follow/nofollow, that help bots index websites better.
  • Optimization of page loading speed to improve Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), Cumulative Layout Shift. Better hosting with a good Content Delivery Network (CDN) has to be subscribed.
  • Creating an up-to-date Sitemap.xml
  • Optimization of robots.txt file.
  • Mobile-friendly UI.
  • Optimization of the website using internal links.
  • Secure your website by an SSL certificate that enables the website to move from HTTP to HTTPS.

The above pointers clearly answer What is SEO and How does it work?

What is the difference between SEO and SEM

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing  (SEM) are powerful tools aimed at enhancing visibility and generating traffic to the website. After understanding What is SEO and SEM it is necessary to know the basic differences. The generally accepted difference between seo and sem is that while SEO is the primary organic strategy, SEM includes both organic and paid strategies.

What is the difference between SEO and SEM
Full formSearch Engine OptimizationSearch Engine Marketing
StrategyStrategy Organic trafficPaid traffic
ResultsResults Takes timeImmediate
Click-through rateHigherLower
ImplementationMandatoryNot mandatory
ResultsFeatured snippetsAd extensions

The above table improves our understanding of What is SEO and SEM.

Is SEO better than SEM?

To simply put down SEO is the mandatory first step to be followed to make you visible on the web. While SEM is a follow-up step that helps you fight competition, rank higher for keywords, retarget customers and get results quicker. But SEM costs you in the form of paid ads. Definitely yes SEO is better than SEM in terms of budget and have long-term results. But it all depends on your digital marketing strategies, goals, budget, and competition whether you need to go for SEM. One can simply start with SEO and then implement SEM to fasten the results.

What is SEO and SEM in digital marketing

The world has gone digital and social media has taken a huge part in it. As much as 85% of the world’s population is active on the web and social media. Your web presence has a large impact on businesses. In order to survive, business needs to focus on digital marketing strategies. Digital marketing strategies should be key to any business. If a business is not using any digital marketing strategies, it can be left behind.

What is SEO and SEM in digital marketing

Seo and sem are two pillars of digital marketing. Using these two together is a must when trying to achieve success. The two of them can be used to improve a site with very little work. If you are looking to grow a site that has a small starting user base, you will want to invest more into seo and sem to help the site grow.

The way to do seo, is to make sure the user experience is all about the user. You want to create a user experience that is valuable and has the best results possible. Using seo and sem together can help you build a better site that can grow and be fluid with the user’s needs and wants.

SEO plays a major role in digital marketing wherein it is necessary to define nice targeting specific customers. Industry-specific and brand-specific digital marketing is required these days. Example Digital marketing for doctors, digital marketing for architects, digital marketing for designers. Also, it helps users find relevant information. For example Online doctor consultation. This can only be achieved by proper execution of SEO and SEM.


Google is not a content creator but just a publisher making it sure the user finds the relevant content he is looking for. To address this Google’s relevancy, SEO is a prerequisite for any web content. With defined goals, one can go just for SEO or even go ahead with implementing SEM. So now when it is clear actually what is SEO and SEM one can make an appropriate decision on formulating SEM and SEM strategies to help their brand reach its goals.

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