SEO/SEM: Which Is Best for My Business?
If your goal is to reach the first page of search engine results, you can choose between two top digital marketing strategies: search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). An SEO agency can help businesses optimize their websites using organic means, but sometimes it takes more than SEO to get things done.
Look closely at SEO and SEM. Using different approaches, these two tactics can give you better rankings and more leads. Are you ready to optimize with SEO or SEM?
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What Is SEO?
SEO is a collection of strategies that increase a website’s organic ranking. SEO increases brand awareness through search engine results pages or SERPs. The right SEO strategies guarantee long-term brand authority by targeting the right audience.
The core of SEO is keyword placement rather than paid ads such as pay-per-click (PPC) and content design for blogs, videos, and social media posts. With the right keywords, your users will easily find your business, products, services, or practice online.
A Successful SEO Campaign Has the Following Components:
Thorough keyword research reveals the best terms to use for your business. The right keywords will help you reach your target audience and rank higher.
- On-page SEO – these are strategies performed within your website. This includes creating valuable content for your clients.
- Off-page SEO – these are tactics that are performed outside your website. These strategies promote user trust and improve brand authority in your market or industry.
- Technical SEO – these techniques ensure that search engines can find and index your website. You may ask a technical SEO expert to help you optimize for this kind of SEO.
What Is SEM?
Search engine marketing (SEM) also helps websites climb higher in search engine results. The goal is similar to SEO, but SEM has a much broader scope than SEO.
SEM combines the power of SEO and PPC to grow a business in a competitive market. SEO is the organic part of SEM, while PPC is the paid ads part.
What Is PPC?
PPC ads are advertisements where you only pay for your ads if someone clicks on them. Paid ads drive audience conversions and can also help improve site rank. PPC appears together with organic search results and gives you a greater chance to grab your audience's attention and increase traffic to your site.
PPC also relies on relevant keywords. This is how search engines find your paid ads from the millions of online ads. After selecting the right keywords to use on your ad, search engines will give you a fixed bid to pay for your term. After bidding, your terms are ready to use.
As a user types your keywords in a search, search engines show your ad. When a user clicks your ad, you pay the bid for that click.
If this is your first time using paid advertising campaigns, you may need the help of a PPC agency to create effective and practical strategies.
Other SEM Strategies
SEM also has other strategies to improve traffic and target your users better. These are search engine reputation management (SERM) and link-building strategies.
SERM is all about guarding your website’s reputation through the use of high-quality content. It is building your brand authority over time. Search engines will identify your efforts and place your content on top of SERPs.
Although link building is part of off-page SEO, this strategy is also part of SEM. Link building promotes traffic through internal and external links, which can lead your audience to your site. With more websites linking to your page, you'll establish brand authority in no time.
As you can see, it takes time to optimize with SERM and link-building, but the results of these digital strategy tactics can preserve and enhance your online reputation for many years to come.
What Are the Differences Between SEO and SEM?
Both SEO and SEM aim to take a website to the top ranks in SERPs. These use almost the same strategies; however, SEM combines SEO and PPC. Let's find out what makes these two strategies different.
1. SEO vs. SEM Goals
SEO has limited coverage compared to SEM. It is about using organic or unpaid strategies to build links, promote content, and increase traffic. SEO can boost organic rankings in SERP. Meanwhile, SEM is not dependent on only SEO but also uses PPC. SEM is more comprehensive and can cover a broader scope, such as social media platforms and online marketplaces.
2. SEO vs. SEM Time and Price
You don't need anything to start practicing SEO strategies. But if you choose to hire an SEO or technical SEO expert, expect to pay either a recurring fee or a one-time fee, depending on your subscription.
SEO focuses on long-term results and takes time to work. Once SEO strategies are set up, it can take up to two years for an optimized site to reach the first page of Google. And your site will never be fully optimized as Google continuously updates its algorithms hundreds of times a year. Updates ensure that Google can deliver the best search results for users.
For SEM, you will need to pay for paid marketing campaigns. A PPC agency can help you create successful PPC campaigns considering the right keywords, ad structure, PPC audits, monitoring, and more.
What To Use? SEO or SEM?
SEM includes SEO and PPC strategies. You'll get better and faster results within your set budget. You can easily target your audience with PPC in your digital marketing strategy. Your audience already knows your brand, so you'll spend time looking for them. PPC gives you instant conversions and visibility.
SEO is best if you want long-term results. The benefits will not fade in just a few weeks or months. With SEO, you can secure your rankings and improve web traffic long term without spending a lot of money.
SEO is a strategy that will promote your business and your brand online. The right SEO tactics will give you more traffic and better brand recognition. SEM combines SEO and PPC, and provides you with the benefits of two effective online marketing strategies.
There's no good or bad strategy. The best one is using both to produce better and more practical long-term results. Contact us to find out if SEO or SEM is best for you.
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