Search Engine Marketing for Beginners: SEO vs SEM

Search Engine Marketing for Beginners: SEO vs SEM | Xena

Author: Heideli Loubser
Edited by: Xena

Search engine marketing is another one of those techy phrases that sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. When it comes to scaling your sales, however, there’s no hiding from technology, and that’s exactly why we’ve created this 3-part series. It’s a chill beginner’s guide to Search Engine Marketing, and we promise you won’t have a headache at the end of it!


What is search engine marketing?

Search engine marketing is about making all your website content (the text, images, back-end descriptions, etc.) Google-friendly so that the mighty Google search engine can find your site and content and show it to your customers who are looking for you. 

Think of it like putting a big McDonald’s sign on top of your business so that people can see you and know immediately what they can get. Billboards make your business physically visible, and similarly, search engine marketing is about making your business visible online. In other words, it’s about paying search engines to have your website show up on the first page of search engine results (SERP) when a customer searches for a keyword or phrase related to your business.


Why is search engine marketing important?


Because everyone is online today! Think about it, people tend to search for a business online before they look for a brick-and-mortar store. And if they can’t find your business after a quick search on Google, then you’re in trouble. 

Depending on the nature of your business, you can also reach a much bigger audience online than in person. In-person setups and events demand a lot of time and energy (and MONEY!), whereas online, it’s about connecting your target audience to your content and offers in a way that’s both relatable and compelling.


Benefits of search engine marketing


  • Whether you prefer to use a paid or organic marketing strategy, both methods are beneficial for improving your company’s online visibility. If you’re still debating whether you should or shouldn’t use SEM, we’re here to tell you that you absolutely SHOULD!
  • If your budget allows it and your priority is to get fast results, go for the paid option. The rest of the time, it’s worth it to go the organic route as well (and let the results of the paid option help inform the organic one — don’t worry, we’ll unpack this in a minute). 
  • Search engine marketing should form a natural part of your entire marketing strategy, including social media content. Remember, it’s about being found online and establishing yourself as a thought leader, so the principles of using relevant keywords and phrases your customers use to look for your products or services apply on every online platform, not just Google.

What is the difference between SEO and SEM?


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, one way to do SEM. SEM, on the other hand stands for Search Engine Marketing. If SEM is the what, SEO is the how. SEO has two options, namely paid SEO (such as PPC, or Pay Per Click) , and organic SEO.


How to get the right keywords for Search Engine Marketing

Use keyword research tools such as Ahrefs, SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and AnswerThePublic to compile a list of keywords that are relevant to your business product or service.

Well, ladies, there you have it! We hope you’ve found this introduction to Search Engine Marketing valuable. Keep an eye out for more exciting blogs about Digital Marketing for your business…

P.S. Need Google Ads? Adbot it!

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