SEO is the way that you optimize your website to improveyour position in search engine results. This is important for a number of reasons one of the main reasons is that if a website is optimized correctly then the website is easily identified and scanned by search engine crawler bots. This in turn can increase your rankings and you may be listedon the top spots in SERPS (search engine results pages), simply put ranking higher on Google or Bing.
Whereas SEM is a digital marketing process that encompasses several variables such as SEO, and paid traffic such as PPC through Google adwords, or Microsoft Advertising.
So SEO is the process of generating organic traffic, it is called this because this traffic is generated by SEO efforts over time and your business starts listing for particular search terms for your products or services naturally on the top pages. This could be anything between 5-100+ search terms depending on how many keywords your are trying to increase ranking for? Most companies utilise the services of a SEO service provider to assist them with this as there is a lot of work involved in improving rankings and maintaining those rankings.
PPC is where you buy the advertising to appear at the top spot of search engines. This could be good for a short period of time for campaigns, however could soon start become costly over a long period of time, especially if you want to create PPC ads for a number of search terms. Usually companies will use PPC for campaigns or for a little extra push for a particular keyword every now and then.
How do you identify what you are looking at in search results? You will know if you are a looking at a PPC advert versus an organic SEO listing, as the PPC adds usually have the term “Ad” appear in green at the start of the second line of the listing. Another way to tell if you are looking at a PPC Ad is that they are usually the first three listings in search results, and the organic search results are listed after these.