If you have a website and want to occupy the top positions on search pages, then you need to know about SEO and SEM. Both have the same function, namely as a website optimization strategy so that they can occupy the top position on Google search pages. However, both have differences that need to be considered before doing optimization to provide maximum results.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is one way of optimization that aims to get high traffic from organic search. SEO that you do can be said to be successful or successful if you follow the rules applied by search engines and the correct optimization steps. Optimization strategies use SEO quite a lot, but in general, SEO can be classified into two, namely On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. On-Page SEO focuses on optimization from within the content or website, while Off-Page SEO focuses on optimization from outside the website.

SEM or Search Engine Marketing is a paid marketing strategy that aims to increase the visibility of a website on search pages. Advertising using SEM is done by choosing keywords related to the product offered or the information to be conveyed. When the audience uses these keywords in a search engine, Google will display the paid search results.

When discussing the differences between SEO and SEM, the most striking difference is that websites that use SEM will be marked with an “ad” icon on the search page. Then, to keep SEM running, you have to pay for each ad, while you can implement SEO without paying any fees. This is an example of how it looks in SEM searches :

SEO and SEM are both strategies for helping websites appear on top search pages, both of which have distinct advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of implementing SEO on a website apart from not spending money, implementing SEO is very effective in the long run because SEO has a strategy that is always developing with results that can last quite a long time. SEO can also build the credibility of your website on search pages which cannot be established through the use of SEM.

Meanwhile, the advantage of implementing SEM on the website is that the implementation process does not take a long time. If you want to test your marketing strategy on a website, it is more effective to use SEM because you can get results quickly and you can turn ads off or on at any time. You can also define your desired target audience or change the landing page for your testing needs. 

When deciding whether to implement SEO or SEM on a website, several things need to be considered. First, know the needs and initial performance of your site. If your website is new, you can apply SEO and SEM at the same time. SEM can be used to generate traffic quickly while implementing long term SEO. If your website is quite old and has done SEO well, you can consider whether to do both or just focus on SEO optimization.

Second, you need to consider the costs and the time it will cost. The implementation of SEO and SEM requires different budgets and time, so it is necessary to make a budget and work timeline thus the implementation process is by your targets and abilities. Finally, you need to know the strategies used by your competitors. Before choosing to use SEO or SEM you need to research the performance of competitors' websites such as what keywords they use and the strategies they employ. This research process will help you make decisions in designing strategies to get to the top of the search page and shift the position of competitors.

Author: Febrilia Endah (Digital Media Specialist)