SEM and SEO for Newbies: What You are Signing Up For

Are you a business owner that has relied on traditional methods of advertising, such as print and radio, until now? The digital age is here, and you can tell that it’s in your business’s best interests to begin marketing online, even if you are a brick-and-mortar establishment. Print ads are environmentally destructive and have a limited reach, and people go out of their way to avoid radio and television commercials nowadays. The internet is one of your best bets—but if you’ve never used it for marketing before, how do you get started?

According to, there are seven different kinds of online marketing: email, affiliate marketing, social media, content, pay-per-click advertising (otherwise known as PPC), search engine marketing (SEM), and search engine optimization (SEO). You do not have to leverage all of these techniques if you do not have the time or human resources available to do so, but you’ll appreciate exploring more than one option. For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on two different kinds of digital marketing, and what you are signing up for if you decide it’s one of the routes you want to go:

Search engine marketing

There are two kinds of search marketing: SEM and SEO. The former, search engine marketing, refers to the process of driving traffic and increasing your business’s visibility on search engines through paid means (pay-per-click advertising is often included as a subtype in this category). By purchasing and displaying online advertisements through platforms like Google AdWords, you intend to attract attention from people who are more likely to be interested in your business based on the sites they visit.

SEM, like PPC, allows you to establish a set budget so that you do not spend more per day than what you are willing to. Cloud1 Marketing notes that SEM enables you to measure your ROI more directly and witness speedy internet traffic to your website. You can also take advantage of targeting options so that your ads are less likely to be wasted on people who are never going to click on them. However, be aware that such campaigns—despite their potential for success—are often labor-intensive, and larger corporations with more resources tend to dominate the space, so you’ll have to think strategically.

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO, refers to unpaid techniques intended to boost your online visibility. When people search queries on the internet, such as through engines like Google and Bing, the engines scan the web for related keywords to deliver you the most relevant results possible. There are steps you can take to make your website more noticeable to search engines, which increases the likelihood that the engine will give you one of the top slots on the first page of results—which is the one most internet users depend on. If you are buried too far in the back, it’s difficult for people to find out that you exist.

Many businesses are adamant about the importance of SEO, but keep in mind that it will take time to see ROI. SEO can be free, but you can also pay for professional services that know the ins and outs of optimizing your website. According to Digital Marketing Philippines, when people search for solutions to their problems on the internet, they click on links:

“70 percent of which are from organic results they received from using search engines. When SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are returned, up to 40 percent of these users will click on the first item on the results list while 70 percent to 80 percent will simply ignore paid listing and go for the organic results.”

One of the caveats of marketing with paid SEM is that people will go out of their way to ignore ads. They know what you are after—but their wariness is also justified due to the high number of scams and potential viruses out there that they are cautious of falling prey to. Internet users trust what search engines prioritize and would rather click on a search result link than an advertisement. If you want to publish your links on other channels without taking up too much space, you can use URL shorteners for internet marketers.

Taking beneficial measures to optimize your site for SEO improves your chances of being seen. It necessitates a significant amount of work, and there are no guarantees, but having a niche audience and creating valuable content can make search engines consider you a stand-out find.

Online marketing is advantageous for countless businesses—even brick-and-mortar ones. Leveraging the power of the internet, though, is not as easy as it sounds, so it is essential to know what you are signing up for before you begin devising a strategy. What kinds of digital marketing do you plan to use?

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.