top of page

Search Engine Optimization vs. Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Optimization vs. Search Engine Marketing

Search marketing tools are crucial to elevate your brand. If the user can’t find your brand, they can’t buy it. Search marketing finds content that is personalized to the searcher, that also includes the right type of content for that search. Here at Skigital, we utilize search marketing tools to deliver the best results for our clients. There are two main types of search engine marketing strategies, search engine optimization and search engine marketing. In the marketing world these tools are commonly referred to as SEO and SEM. To learn more about the basics of SEO and SEM, as well as Skigital’s services, read on!

Search engine optimization is a tool used to increase the position of your brand website in the search engine results pages (SERP).

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is a tool used to increase the position of your brand website in the search engine results pages (SERP). Search engine optimization will help return your website in the search engine’s organic search results. Organic search results display what the search engine thinks is the best content to show, based on a multitude of criteria. There are several different ways to leverage search engine optimization and help your page rank position get higher on the SERP. Web design tactics to utilize SEO include page content, keywords, Google LSI, and blogging. First and foremost, your website should include meaningful content that is relevant to your target audience and brand. For more information about web design, view our blog on website building essentials. Another supplemental tactic to improve your search rankings is to provide consumers with a meaningful and positive experience with your brand. Positive experiences are the core of business success. Consumers who leave positive Google Reviews will help increase your position on the SERP as well as provide a sense of trustworthiness and credibility for your business.

When building the content of your website, it is important to include meaningful keywords. Google likes at least 300 words for keyword density, about 3 times per 150 words. It is important to include keywords in the title of your website, description that shows on the search results, URL slug, alt text, and the first paragraph of your content. There should be unique keywords for each page throughout the website, and try to avoid duplicating keywords. To brainstorm keywords, use descriptive adjectives and phrases that correlate with your brand. You can also check web analytics for common search referrals and search results. Google uses a process called latent semantic indexing (LSI) that crawls the content of webpages to identify the most common words/phrases of the webpage. LSI does not need exact match keywords to return your webpage. LSI looks for synonyms that relate to your target keywords as well.

Lastly, blog content is a very important aspect of SEO. Seven out of ten SERP results are blog content. This is because blog content contains certain tags and keywords that will be returned on the SERP. For more information on keywords check out our informational Instagram post!

Search engine marketing is a paid search approach that utilizes pay per click or cost per click marketing tools.

What is SEM?

Search engine marketing is a paid search approach that utilizes pay per click or cost per click marketing tools. SEM uses contextual and audience targeting tools to display ads on relevant web pages and the search engine results page. You will often notice these brands appear on the top of search results as sponsored brands or the sidebar of search results with photo display. Branded ads may also appear on relevant web pages related to your product. These contextual and audience targeting tools display ads based on relevant sites (sometimes competitor sites) and audience activity (showing ads to people who are likely interested). SEM is a clear way to sell your product or service with search. This is a direct result of paid tactics to drive awareness or traffic.

Common SEM tactics include text ads, video display, retargeting/remarketing, and geomarketing. Text ads such as sponsored brands commonly appear on the Google results page. Another approach is video display, such as ads that play before watching a YouTube video. A retargeting or remarketing strategy is when consumers who have already viewed your site are pushed your ads as they browse other sites. Lastly, geomarketing is an approach that uses location services to push certain ads to people in a certain geographic area. SEM is a very powerful tool to ensure awareness and consideration of your brand as users search the web.

The Difference and Importance of SEO and SEM

Search engine marketing tools are important because 75% of consumers don’t go past page one of search results. The ultimate goal of search engine marketers is to have your website be returned “above the fold” on a search engine. Above the fold refers to the results that are displayed without any scrolling. SEO and SEM differ in that SEO is a strategic tactic to organically boost your web page in the search results. In contrast, SEM is a paid approach to certainly get your ad in front of relevant audiences, whether it be within the search results or as consumers are browsing other web pages.

Contact Skigital

If you are interested in leveraging search engine marketing but are unsure where to start, allow Skigital to handle your digital marketing strategy. To learn more about our full range of digital marketing services check out or website! Contact Skigital CEO Kim Cunningham at to discuss implementing a revamped digital presence for your business!


bottom of page