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421 N Phillips Ave, Suite 302
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

(605) 610-3139

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SEM and SEO: How Do They Work?

Getting traffic to your website can sometimes feel like you’re trying to herd cats. Customers often have so many companies trying to vie for their attention. However, there are a couple of secret weapons that businesses can use:  SEM and SEO.


The fundamental difference between SEO and SEM is the type of web traffic you’re seeking to bring in. Here’s what you need to know.


Search engine optimization (SEO) is characterized as a way to bring in more organic traffic to your website. This refers to traffic from people who are searching for the answer to a question or trying to learn more about a topic and finding your site through their search activity.

As you optimize a website for SEO, you focus on getting a greater portion of the organic web traffic. And through that process, your website will start to rank higher in the search results, which brings even more organic traffic.


Search engine marketing (SEM) takes SEO one step further with a more targeted approach. While it incorporates all of the same techniques as traditional SEO, you gain traffic and visibility both from organic search traffic and paid search traffic with SEM.

You might set up your website so that you pay per click (PPC) with advertising. By combining SEO techniques with paid ads, you can grow an even larger audience because your content will be in front of the people who search for the right combination of keywords.

How Do They Work?

Rather than giving you a crash course in coding, let’s take a look at how these two tactics work in the context of your business.


With nearly 75% of all searches coming from Google — totaling billions of searches a day — SEO is a crucial part of digital marketing. Typically, the first five results of a search will get the greatest number clicks.

To rank higher, you need:

  • The right keywords
  • Relevant content
  • Relevant links and references
  • Standards-compliant coding
  • Unique, relevant page titles

As you optimize your website for these factors, you’ll rank higher and end up getting more traffic. That’s the beauty of SEO. You don’t have to pay for the traffic, though this can often mean that growing your audience is a slower process of trial and error.


SEM combines SEO fundamentals with paid ads. While Google Ads are by far the most commonly used platform for SEM, others like Bing Ads can bring in traffic from Yahoo and MSN.

Rather than just focusing on the SEO side of things, SEM ties in:

  • Location targeting
  • Scheduled targeting
  • Demographic targeting
  • Device targeting

When you add that to excellent ad copy and the SEO basics, you’ll bring in far more traffic, though you’ll have to pay for the ad space.

How to Improve Your SEO and SEM

Knowing how to work with the intricacies of SEO and SEM and gain success takes finesse and some expertise. Rather than struggling and wasting money doing it all by yourself, turn to Net Profit Marketing.

With our extensive experience and knowledge in digital marketing, you’ll see your traffic grow and your sales increase. Get your business noticed by contacting Net Profit Marketing today.

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We're a mid-sized-business oriented Internet marketing agency with a laser-like focus on the one number that matters most: how much are you getting back from your marketing dollar?

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