Search engine marketing (SEM) has plays an integral role in marketing communications through direct response and branding tactics. Search Engine Marketing is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to generate consideration and ultimately traffic to Web sites by increasing their ranking on the results page of search engines. Google controls 65.4% of SEM traffic. SEM has two different aspects; the paid search and the search engine optimization aspect. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Paid Search (Pay Per Click) are extremely important for products and services to be seen by consumers via the Internet. Both SEO and PPC have the same goal: to make a sale; however, each form of search marketing works differently.

Before I get to the differences between the two, I want to touch upon what makes search marketing successful. The keys for success include an integrated approach, both online and offline; clear measurement; the ability to experiment; need to understand how your prospective customers are looking for you--they are looking, but will they find you?; being able to run search marketing continuously; improve continuously. Now how do SEO and PPC differ?

Below are some differences between SEO and PPC:

Natural Search (SEO) Paid Search (PPC)
Less direct control over ranking Can directly influence ranking, based on bid
Limited control over message

-message is typically general/brand driven

-pulled from code on Web site

Control over message

-Can be more product focused/ benefit driven

-copy test, frequent update

When done well, it can be a very effective method of increasing traffic and leads Compensates for inconsistencies in SEO, ensuring consistent placement
High organic rankings have a positive effect on the brand.

69% of total search clicks are organic

High paid rankings have a positive effect on the brand
Can be expensive and time consuming, but constantly optimizing

-No quick process and/or results

Budgeting opportunity, immediate results

Although SEO and PPC are different, they work together and can create top listings for both paid and organic search and receive more clicks. All in all, Search Engine Marketing complements other marketing efforts and is usually the foundation of any Internet marketing campaign, especially the utilization of PPC and SEO.