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SEO vs SEM: What’s the Difference?

The sports marketing industry is booming, and along with this upward trend comes a plethora of new terminology. Which, if we’re being honest, can be insanely difficult to keep up with. Just when we were starting to wrap our minds around search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) popped up on the radar. These two terms have been used interchangeably, which just adds to the confusion. SEO… SEM… how about SOS?! However, SEO and SEM do have some major differences, and we’re here to help clear things up.

SEO optimizes your content for maximum visibility on search engine results pages. When your website is one of the top results on the first page, this increases traffic to your website. SEM is more focused on Internet marketing to increase a site’s visibility through organic search engine results and advertising. But that doesn’t really explain too much if you are unaware of the components of each, so we’ll break it down:

SEO

The ultimate goal of SEO is to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic methods. This means you don’t have to pay to get your content seen, as it will be relevant enough to appeal to Internet users over your competitors. SEO consists of:

  • Incorporating specific keywords throughout your content, especially into titles, meta descriptions, heading tags, alt text, etc in a natural way
  • Content and page copy is optimized with these keywords as well
  • Cleanly formatted pages
  • Quickly loading pages
  • Google authorship incorporated
  • Streamlined social media sharing abilities

SEM

SEM does often include SEO tactics, but it also incorporates other internet marketing strategies as well. SEM uses the paid services that SEO does not, such as pay per click (PPC) listings and advertisements. SEM also uses social media marketing.

In short, the main difference is that SEM incorporates paid methods while SEO focuses on getting your content out there naturally and organically. And it’s important to note that SEO can be SEM, but SEM cannot be SEO.

SEO vs SEM: Which one is right for you?

Now that you have a good idea of what the differences between the two are, you may be wondering which one would work best for sports marketing. It’s important to evaluate your specific needs first, as your approach will depend on a variety of different factors. Nicole Rende, a Digital Media Specialist and writer for Hubspot says “As an Inbound Marketer, I would argue that organic SEO is the best approach, but as you can see, true SEM cannot succeed without the use of organic SEO. Additionally, there are many situations where PPC (a component of SEM) makes more sense than SEO.” She says, for example, if you were a company launching your new website and you wanted immediate visibility, it would be best to spring for a PPC campaign because it works quickly to get fast results. However, she advises eventually leaning on SEO as well, as you don’t want to rely solely on SEM. Organic SEO produces results much more slowly, but in the long term it will be less costly and you will establish search credibility, which will be crucial for future endeavors.

Instagram

  • From the 1st Candian team to win an NBA championship ➡ the 1st team to sell a branded hijab. It's been a great year of "1sts" for the @raptors 🏆 #WIDSIXSports
  • Inspired by a group of female Muslim athletes, the @raptors partnered with @Nike to create the first team-branded hijab.👏 Bringing more diversity into the basketball culture.🏀 #WIDSIXSports
  • #ClientSpotlight ➡ Interrupting your feed to show off the one and only @chrisbenchetler catching some insane air in New Zealand. ⛷️ #WIDSIXSports
  • #ClientSpotlight ➡ Catching a ride with @chrisbenchetler on the slopes. Comment your favorite place to ski and snowboard ⛷️🏂⬇ #WIDSIXSports
  • #ClientSpotlight ➡ A #WIDSIXSports OG @chrisbenchetler doing what he does best ... having a #powday🏂❄️
  • Feel what it's like to be an extreme athlete. 💪The Beyond Human Limits exhibit at @denvermuseumns digs deeper into the science behind a variety of extreme outdoor sports by demonstrating how athletes use their gear and skills to pull off crazy stunts.🧗🏂🚵 #WIDSIXSports
  • Go "behind the stories" and experience 60 Minutes in space science, using the best images and animation available to help understand new developments at the @denvermuseumns.🌌👨‍🚀 The next 60 Minutes will be on January 29, 2020. 🔭 #WIDSIXSports
  • Ever wish you could feel what it's like to do an extreme sport?☄️ Well, now you can at Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits, a new exhibit at the @denvermuseumns.
➡ Test your spontaneity for adventure and learn how athletes achieve feats that non-athletes might consider impossible!🚴 #WIDSIXSports
📸: @citypass
  • #Clientspotlight @kellyfillnow Repost🔄 "Some days are hard. We wait for Motivation to come knocking. We wonder when Inspiration will ring that doorbell. But the knock doesn’t come and the doorbell doesn’t ring. What if instead we go out and meet Habit? Habit is consistent and dependable. Habit will be there when Motivation and Inspiration fail to show up. It’s time to go meet Habit." #StretchYourself #Motivationfortheday #WIDSIXSports
  • #Clientspotlight Seeing double? We sure are. @Kellyfillnow and her twin @mfillnow putting in work when the gym is closed. No excuses for these athletes. 💪 #Nodaysoff #WIDSIXSports

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