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How is SEO different from SEM and PPC?

Are you just diving into the marketing world and looking to understand search engine optimization (SEO) better? With so many acronyms associated with online marketing, it’s easy to understand how even a seasoned marketing professional could have difficulty keeping them all straight. Our goal is to provide you with the essential information you need to help you understand what SEO is and why it’s so important for your business in bite-size, easily digestible pieces. Let’s dive in.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) essentially have the same function with minor differences. It can confuse beginners since the two terms are often used interchangeably. Think of SEO as building your brand’s visibility by providing quality content to your target audience through organic or unpaid search engine results. Your SEO strategy should include learning about your audience and better understanding what they are searching for. Knowing this information can help you create a better SEM plan connecting you to your target audience. With a clearer understanding of what your customers want, you can begin building a seamless experience for them which will ultimately help you to achieve key business goals. SEM, in turn, is expanding upon your SEO efforts through paid advertising to give your site higher rankings with top search engine sites such as Google.


Now that we know the subtle difference between SEO and SEM let’s branch out a bit further and introduce their counterpart, PPC. PPC stands for Pay Per Click. This form of digital advertising charges advertisers whenever one of their ads is clicked on. Advertisers bid on keywords or phrases they want to be associated with their ad when search engine results are populated. When the keyword/phrase is entered, that advertiser’s ad appears at the top of the search engine results page. It’s important to remember that although SEO is unpaid and PPC is paid, they complement one another, and each is vitally important to SEO success.

Why is SEO important?

Social media marketing, PPC advertising, and other forms of paid advertising are all crucial to a successful marketing plan. They can all generate interest as well as increase website traffic. But without investing the time and resources into your SEO efforts, you will miss out on the untapped potential that organic search results yield. Studies have shown that SEO offers 20 times more traffic than PPC by mobile devices or desktops. With users performing trillions of online searches each year and search engine results in pages becoming increasingly more competitive, it’s become more critical than ever for businesses to set up SEO that will not only enhance user experience but continue working for itself and produce dividends long term. Here are just a few more examples of why SEO is so important to your bottom line:

  • When done well, it improves your site’s traffic quality and quantity.
  • It can improve the visibility of your brand to your target audience.
  • It helps you to stay ahead of your competition.
  • Increases your authority and credibility within your market.
  • Can improve user experience.
  • It should educate people, generate interest, answer questions, and help to sell your product or service.

Whenever consumers are looking for something, whether for research, finding general information, shopping, or directions, it all begins with a search. Enhancing your site will help provide search engines with better information so that your web page stands out and gets bumped up to the high rankings.

Types of SEO

In the larger scope of SEO, there are 12 different types or techniques that you will want to familiarize yourself with in time. These 12 types are:

  1. On-page
  2. Off-page
  3. Technical SEO
  4. E-Commerce
  5. White Hat
  6. Gray Hat
  7. Black Hat
  8. International
  9. Negative
  10. Local
  11. Mobile
  12. Content SEO
  13. We will focus on two in particular in this beginner’s guide. On-page and Off-page. Let’s take a closer look at each

Core Elements of SEO: On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO

Think of On-Page SEO as all your efforts to help your website rank higher. On-Page SEO is one of the most important types of SEO because it directly affects your website. It involves the technical processes that involve web page tags, images, content, and internal links to improve visibility. Other factors to consider with On-Page SEO are how fast your site loads and how that can affect your “bounce rate.” Search engines want to help your business succeed. So it’s important to help them help you by utilizing keywords, optimizing images, and enhancing internal links. This will help search engine crawlers explore your page’s design and discover its new and related content based on relevance. A bonus to these efforts is allowing users to easily access key content on your site without additional clicks, thereby helping to maximize a hassle-free experience.

Off-page SEO also carries significant weight in determining your site’s ranking. On the flip side of On-page SEO, Off-page is everything done outside your website to stand out and feature higher on SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages. This can include:

  • Social media advertising
  • Online reviews
  • Securing backlinks from recognized sites in your domain

The most important of these are link building and earning backlinks. Link building is establishing links to your site on other relevant websites to display the value and influence of your content to search engines. Backlinks are a great indicator of your site’s authority and content quality.


When thinking about the content, you’ll want to consider your audience. About SEO, you need to consider your audience and search engines for the best results.


Here are a few tips for creating high-quality, intentional, fresh content that grabs your audience’s attention.

  • Make it exciting and easy to follow.
  • Create content that answers your customer’s questions.


  • Know your customers and what they are looking for – are they trying to buy something, just browsing, or looking for the answer to something?
  • Be intentional with target keywords on your site to best answer your searcher’s queries.


  • Get into the habit of updating your site’s content regularly. Fix broken links, and refresh old data with more relevant and up-to-date information.


Keyword Research and Selection

Choosing the Right Keywords

Choosing the Right Keywords takes us back to being intentional. Google emphasizes intent more than adding lots of random keywords to your site. Of course, it’s important to perform a keyword search; however, the intention behind those keywords is much more valuable to your success in the long run. Google understands that a researcher will search for a different word or phrase than a buyer would enter into a search field. So, give some thought to the message you want to convey. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Know the intention behind your words.

Competition Analysis

It’s good practice to understand your competition. Try to determine what is and isn’t working for them and then use that knowledge to better position yourself. This includes finding out what keywords they’re using.

Search Intent

Are you noticing a theme here? By now, you should realize the importance of intent. Focusing solely on what keywords people are typing into a search will only get you so far. Search intent focuses on identifying what people are searching for. An example of this could be that you’re creating a job placement ad for a Veterinary Assistant. In your ad, you use the word Assistant multiple times (assistant being the keyword). Still, when you begin receiving resumes, the candidate’s work experience ranges from administrative assistant to activities assistant. The intent behind each of these candidates’ searches was utterly different. By pinpointing the intent behind your words, you will yield better results.


It sounds intimidating but don’t panic; we’ve got you covered! Read on to better understand how to simplify HTML for SEO.

Title Tags

Simply put, the Title tag is displayed on the tab at the top of the browser and shows up when your page is listed on Google.

Meta Description

Meta Description Tags are the area just below the Title Tag and allow you to tell the searcher more about the content.


In SEO, the schema is the microdata that makes it easier for search engines to find relevant websites to present to users’ search inquiries. It’s just a way to help search engines display your content.


Subheadings are a way to emphasize certain keywords and phrases. They help support the heading preceding it. This heading tells Google what the content is about.

URL Slug

In SEO, a slug is a portion of the address of a web page that what kind of content is on that page. Slugs consist of several keywords spaced by hyphens.

Alt Text

Also known as Alt tags, Alt descriptions, or Alt attributes, Alt Text is simply a short sentence added to the definition of an image on your website to describe what it symbolizes.

Google’s E-A-T Guidelines

4 Tips for Improving Your E-A-T Score

E-A-T in SEO terms means Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

It is necessary to satisfy Google’s E-A-T standards when determining where your website will land on its results page. Here are four ways to help improve your EAT score:

  1. Speak about what you know – When generating content for your site, be authentic and keep content relevant to what your brand represents.
  2. Do your homework – Make sure the content you share is accurate and precise. Nothing will sink your ship faster than handing out wrong information.
  3. Speak to your audience’s needs – When you speak truthfully and authentically about what you know, you’ll naturally be seen as a trustworthy source of information within your perspective area of expertise. But being able to answer your audience’s questions in a way that is easily understood and able to be replicated will make you stand out from your competitors.
  4. Be conscientious – Don’t scrimp on the details. To be seen as an authority in your field, you should take time to answer potential customers’ questions accurately and with as much relevant information as possible.

How do you implement these SEO best practices? Our experienced team can help! Contact us today to schedule a consultation.