SEO and SEM both utilize strategic content, however SEO’s primary role is to generate content to increase traffic to websites. The content includes specific keywords that the ideal consumer for the site would type in a search engine to find a particular business, product or service. These keywords are highly challenging to determine as each business is different and the number of competition using the most searched keywords is often too high to be valuable. It becomes imperative to select words that are commonly searched as well as words with little competition to generate the most traffic to a site. It is a delicate balance.
SEO and SEM may both use content, but only SEM uses paid marketing to increase traffic to a site. Methods of SEM may be to pay a directory service to add a website to the directory, to use pay-per-click services or even to use adwords services. These methodologies will all be paid services that are used to optimize a campaign to drive more traffic to the website in an attempt to increase sales.
SEO and SEM both aim to generate a healthier bottom line. Each company must carefully choose the best methodology for their business to maximize traffic and optimize the ideal target audience. It may be in the best interest of a company to use both methodologies.