SEM and SEO - What you need to know

A lot of us have heard quite a bit about what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) means, and although it is a term commonly thrown around, only a few people truly understand what both consist of.

Getting into the basics with SEO:

SEO Marketing, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization, is the unpaid section found on a search engine. For practical purposes, we will use Google as our example for this article. Below you can see how has an Ad Logo next to it, indicating this was paid optimization. What we will focus on in this section is how to achieve unpaid optimization for search engines. Below companies such as Dicks and Finishline (highlighted in red) have generated unpaid search engine optimization.

Now that the placement of a website makes a bit more sense, learning how to reach the highest placement on Google is quite important.

1 According to Prodtyping, getting great SEO results consists of setting up your website with the following guidelines:

These guidelines should be used and kept in mind when designing and creating content for your website. Before writing all your content, keep in mind a list of keywords you will use in your sentences to keep your website relevant and more likely to be recognized by Google. This method can be used using SERP (search engine results page), which indicates what people are searching for the most at the moment.

"Keyword research can provide you with insights on the nature of your audiences’ pain points and needs — whether that’s navigational, informational or transactional — their interests, the amount of interest out there (indicated by search volume), the level of competition for those queries, and even the format in which they prefer that information." -

Making sure all content is relevant to your products/services is what will allow Google to recognize your website in the business category you wish your clientele to recognize you in.

These factors are extremely important in order to achieve optimal results that will allow for Google's algorithm to better determine your website as a good recommendation when someone is searching for the product or service you are providing.

Ultimately, SEO is considered the first and most important step in search engine brand recognition. After creating a solid SEO marketing plan, it will guarantee you to have better results when you begin working on SEM.

Learning about SEM

With paid advertising, SEM can be considered more difficult and competitive, compared to SEO. The first rule of thumb is to follow the same guidelines used in SEO and adding an advertising campaign on top of that to achieve the best results.

In order to create an Ad for Google, the first step is to create a Google AdWords account, where you will link your website domain to your AdWords account. This is the first and easiest part of all the process.

Creating a list of keywords you want to invest in is the second and most time-consuming step in creating SEM campaign. Using helpful and free tools such as WordSteam can help you find the most relevant keywords to invest in according to your website, industry, and geographic location. 3 WordStream advises business owners to "identify keywords that are relevant to your business and that prospective customers are likely to use when searching for your products and services."

After choosing the keywords that are right for your SEM campaign, you're ready to invest in Google Adwords. We recommend you come up with a budget that will better suit your business needs. Focus solely on what your business needs and not on what your competition is doing.

"Making decisions based on where and how much others are spending is a surefire path to bad outcomes. Avoid the trap of wondering how they’re doing it, and what that means about how you’re doing. Every business is unique, for everything from cash position to organizational strengths" Adam Edwards

Bidding is an important part of all of this process, it involves offering a bid in the most competitive keywords customers are looking for. These keywords will vary in price frequently, which is why it is important to keep an eye on your campaign. Some keywords may cost more than others, ultimately the strategy to all of this is finding the right amount of keywords at the best price possible.

Once you have taken into account how much you are willing to spend on all of your keywords, you decide which demographics you want your website displayed according to age, place, and interests. After doing so, tracking progress is the last step to determine if your ad is effective or not.

Logging into Google Adwords each day and updating your keywords to match daily trends and changes in the market are great habits to have in order to have your campaign run smoothly and optimized for best results.

Final thoughts:

Creating a website with relevant content that will optimize your SEO to the highest potential. This is the first step to creating more website traffic. Many business owners believe spending money first on Google Adwords is the best and only way to attracting clientele, only to find out that they have spent hundreds of dollars in campaigns that do not deliver results. In order to run Adwords effectively and attract the audience that will do business with you, it is imperative that you begin this process while designing and creating content on your website; that is the best method to use in order to build on a stronger search engine recognition.


  1. Starting out with SEO. (2019, January 31). Retrieved July 25, 2020, from

  2. SEO Guide: Content & Search Engine Success Factors. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2020, from

  3. Search Engine Marketing (SEM): What It Is & How to Do It Right. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2020, from

  4. Edwards, A. (2020, July 22). How and where to fight for your marketing budget. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from

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