What are the differences and advantages and disadvantages between SEO and SEM?

What are the differences and advantages and disadvantages between SEO and SEM?, someone asked me to explain?

differences and  advantages and disadvantages  between SEO and SEM

If you don’t know how to allocate your search marketing budget, or don’t know how to explain the difference between search marketing products (SEO and SEM) when you’re working with your client’s proposal, or you don’t know what kind of preference the website/business should give priority to at the current stage. Search marketing strategy, this article can help you to understand in depth the differences and advantages and disadvantages between SEO and SEM.

SEO (search engine optimization)

SEO is an abbreviation for SearchEngineOptimization

I am an advantage:

1, cross search engine platform effects:

SEO optimization is done for all search engines. As long as SEO methods are white hat, professional, and user-oriented, then you can not only gain traffic from Baidu, Google, Sogou, 360, and Yahoo will all have different degrees. Recognize your website and thus give your website a good placement. With SEM, different search engines have different service mechanisms.

2. Increase the flow without increasing the budget:

To increase PPC traffic, you must increase your budget. But SEO is not the same. SEO optimization is a bit like snowballing. Although initially it is inconspicuous, once the snowball rolls up and the mechanism is established, it is bound to be full of stamina. The more significant the effect is, the more effective it is without you investing more.

3, stop spending, flow remaining:

It is obviously unreasonable for many customers to divide the SEM spend by the CPC to calculate whether the SEO service fee is better than the SEM. Because unlike SEM, traffic stops when there is no money in the account. A website optimized by professional SEO will not immediately disappear because you stop the SEO service. On the contrary, this traffic will continue for a long period of time. In theory, if there is no excessive external competition and the search algorithm does not change significantly. The traffic is basically stable. So, if you really want to calculate, at least 2 years of SEO traffic should be compared with the one-year SEM traffic.

4. Higher trust:

Compared with SEM, SEO has higher user trust. After all, SEM is also a kind of commercial advertisement. The user clicks itself with a mentality of watching advertisements. If they are not satisfied, they jump out to see the next one. Natural rankings are different. Users will think that websites ranked by natural rankings are more professional and credible. At the same time, user participation and conversion rates are higher.

5. Exclude negative news:

Imagine if you had a negative SEO message underneath your SEM ad. Was it bad? Usually the negative news is 3-5 times more powerful than positive news. Before serving an English-speaking client, I didn’t specify They discovered that suddenly their brand area traffic decreased by 20%. When they saw the search result, they found that the first row on the natural result page was actually a negative item that Baidu knew. This time, customers thought that they would use SEO to rank. It's too late. Therefore, we must pay attention to SEO in peacetime. Through SEO, we can better consolidate the weight of search results on the first page and establish such a protective barrier that can effectively prevent negative invasion. Only a lot of companies are waiting for things to happen before they can do it.

6, easier to attract clicks:

The natural result is at the center of the user's visual center of the SERP after all. Compared with the SEM, more attention and clicks can be obtained. According to past experience, the natural result of SEO traffic is usually higher than that of the top ranked PPC ad.

I also have disadvantages:

Long effective time

Generally speaking, SEO optimization takes a minimum of 6 months to complete, and rushing to achieve is either a bad website or no effect. Therefore, to do SEO, corporate CEOs need to have a full understanding of SEO and psychological expectations. Therefore, I still recommend that, for ordinary traditional enterprises, it is better to do a training system first to let them understand the pros and cons of SEO before starting to carry out our services.

No guarantee

Because you don't simply buy ads, you have no way of guaranteeing how many impressions and clicks your site can get.

High cost of communication

SEO optimization needs to involve cooperation with many departments, such as products, design, technology, editing, PR, etc. The communication cost is very high. A good SEO consultant or SEO product manager needs a strong cross-sectoral organization to communicate and coordinate. ability.


Search engine algorithms often change, often leading to changes in website keyword rankings and traffic. Stability is not comparable to SEM.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

SEM is an abbreviation of SearchEngineMarketing

I am an advantage:

1, instant traffic:

Since you're buying search engine ads, your site's keyword rankings and traffic can appear and grow in minutes.

2, easy to test:

SEM advertising is quick and has rich data information. It can be used as an AB test to compare which pages have better conversion. Of course, the keyword strategy of SEO can also be instructed through SEM. Through testing the keywords of different groups and the corresponding landing page, observe the visitor behavior data, order conversion, and select words with high user participation or high conversion rate as the key to SEO. Word strategy reference.

3, precise ROI calculation:

PPC has a clear cost, display, clicks, and conversions, which can all be well tracked. The CPS or CPA can be clearly calculated through data analysis and comparison. By analyzing these indicators, online marketers can make timely adjustment strategies.

4, accurate delivery:

This feature is very helpful for local businesses. You can go to the designated city in the PPC account to launch your keywords. This will allow your potential users to be more precise, more intent, and reduce many invalid costs and traffic.

5, brand area:

Have to say that Baidu's brand area is very good. Once the site purchases products, you can quickly get a lot of user attention and take all unrelated sites out of the picture. There are many custom features available in the product lineup. You can prioritize important products or sections of your site on search results and shorten your conversion path.

I also have disadvantages:

No long-term interest

Unlike SEO, once the SEM stops spending, traffic will stop and there will be no emotion, and there will definitely be no "snowball mechanism" similar to SEO. If you compare SEO to playing the piano, the longer you play it, the better your skills will be, and the better the effect will be. And SEM is to spend money to invite people to play. Although it can bring wonderful audition enjoyment, it is for you. Say, there hasn't been any growth. Once you can't afford such a cost, all the wonderful music will be put to rest.

Less user coverage

Since search engines clearly distinguish between search ads and natural rankings, most users are not willing to click on SEM advertisements. This results in SEM's user coverage being very limited. A large number of studies have shown that it is at least 70%. Clicks come from SEO's natural rankings, so for companies, SEO optimization must not fail at the same time as PPC. SEO traffic not only covers a wide range, but also has better traffic quality than SEM.

Click fraud

Click fraud that malicious clicks [WeChat reply "malicious clicks"], this does not need me to explain, in such a highly competitive Internet, click fraud often occurs, although search engines have some filtering mechanisms, but a high foot There is no 100% prevention, which means you have to pay for some "robot customers".

Low trust

SEM advertising users have less confidence than SEO. The reasons are as described above, so sometimes I think that "free is the most expensive" is still very reasonable.

The above are the main advantages and disadvantages of personal analysis of SEO and SEM. Anyway, I always think that learning from each other is the king. If SEO and SEM can be integrated together, looking for an experienced search marketing consultant can bring you online marketing. Great benefits and minimizing risks. I hope this blog post will be helpful to you or your company. Please feel free to leave a message and communicate with me. 

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