SEO VS. SEM: A Quick Review for Your Virtual Assistant

Social Media for Professional Networking“Marketing is the social process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others.” – Philip Kotler

This definition of marketing is pretty much alive. Nonetheless, due to the advancement in technology, marketing is also expanding with search engine marketing virtual assistants joining the mix of traditional marketers.

Marketing through Search Engines

Due to the significant rise of internet usage, everyone wants to translate the vast attention that the internet is garnering into marketing profitability. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two of those ways.


You might mistake SEO with SEM. This is understandable since in one way or another, the two concepts are closely related. However, you should know the main difference between them to better think of ways on how to effectively promote your product/services.


SEO is concerned with how to optimize your website for you to obtain a high search engine results position. With a higher ranking, your site has a greater chance to be visited by searchers which in turn will translate to higher chances for sales. This technique includes all the necessary steps like taking care of internal links, incoming links, heading tags, Meta tags and ensuring that you have the right keyword density for your page and site’s topic.  Links are also given great importance as well as giving additional weight to your sites’ content.  Social media and website promotion, Press Release Submission and RSS Feed Submission are also some integral parts in SEO.


SEM on the other hand is broader term. It’s everything that can be done to utilize the technology of search engines with the goal of promoting a web site and increasing its traffic and increase profit.  With this definition, you can say that SEO is a subpart of SEM.

Here are some factors that are included in SEM which are outside the scope of SEO:

Paid Inclusion

Rather than setting up your site and let search engine spiders find it on its own, you have the option of paying a search engine or a directory for your site to be added on their database immediately. If you’re willing to pay, your site will be listed sooner.

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Traditional Ads

This involves placing paid advertising on the search engine result pages (SERPs). To simplify, you pay whether an ad sends anyone to your web site or not.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

Such campaigns give you the option to decide which keywords should bring up your ads. In such a manner, you write the copy, and you decide how much you want to pay. You only pay for an ad when someone clicks it and is brought to your site.

Advantages of SEM over SEO

SEM practices offer the advantage of immediacy compared to pure SEO efforts only. If you want to increase your traffic and your visibility immediately, you just need to get ready with your money to achieve the results you want.

SEM shoulders greater responsibility

You’ve spent your time and money to lure people to your web site. You must live up to the hype. You must convince your visitors that your site has all the necessary information they need. Make sure that all the information is presented in an organize manner and that you have relevant and useful content. If not, the effort and money you’ve spent will all be put to waste and your site will be remembered as a site which failed to deliver.

The Verdict

Bottom line is, if you are a risk taker with the necessary resources and you want to achieve results immediately, you might want to put a nudge with SEM but if you just want to lay back and you have the patience to wait for the results to speak for itself, focusing and sticking with SEO would be the best for you.

In either way, a search engine marketing virtual assistant can give you the expertise and the advice that you need to make a sound decision. Finding the right assistant is critical for your success. You must start now and make the most of the SEO services that you can find.