You may have heard of both SEO and SEM but most people don’t really know the difference. If you’re serious about digital marketing for your business, it’s important to know the difference.
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optmisation and is a marketing strategy that allows you to attract more attention to your brand and website through properly optimising your content to appeal to the needs of various search engines. The better you optimise your web pages, the higher chance you will have at appearing at the top of a search engine results list. Many different factors contribute to an SEO strategy, such as keyword placement, content popularity, and website load time. However, these factors are broken down into two main categories: on-page factors and off-page factors.
Your on-page SEO factors will be those that are entirely within your control. These factors appear on your website or web page, giving you full control over how they look and where you place them. Your on-page SEO factors are often the easiest to implement, including things like where you put your keywords, the speed of the website, and the quality of the content you upload.
Off-page SEO factors can be harder to control. Because off-page factors are located somewhere other than your site, you need to put more effort into implementing them correctly. Critical off-page factors include company reviews, online listings, and backlinks to your website, all giving your web pages ‘authority’. The higher the authority ranking, the higher your search engine ranking.
Getting organic results from SEO usually takes time – Google guidelines advise that it normally takes up to 4 months for SEO to start to work. See this Google video for more info.
SEM stands for Search Engine marketing which generally involves the paid promotions like PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising along with other digital marketing such as social media and other forms of SEO. Because SEO is generally a long-term, gradual campaign, some business will prefer to acquire instant leads with using paid source of promotion. Paid Promotion of PPC can be set as per our budget and helps to generate traffic which will eventually effect our organic ranking. Google Ads is the most popular version of Pay Per Click advertising.
Pay Per Click Advertising should be setup correctly to ensure an effective return on investment (ROI) for you. Getting over a thousand clicks for an ad’ sounds great, but if the audience are not engaged to view the rest of your website and leave it within a minute or it’s not what they were looking for in the first place, then you’re wasting your time and money. Your search engine marketing needs to be created in a way that engages your audiences and makes it easy or desirable for them to follow through the process and fulfil the initial intent of the advertising – like making a sale or contacting you.
Any business should always practice good SEO – and it should be an ongoing campaign. SEM and PPC advertising provide a quick boost when it’s needed. Both are beneficial but it is always a matter of marketing budget which you have set for online promotions.
PPC can be proven costly as every click does not ensure business or leads. Some clicks can be made by competitors, or as mentioned above, if the ads are not set correctly or your website’s not engaging then you also waste money. Not only that, Pay Per Click advertising does NOT improve SEO or ranking. You may be temporarily at the top of a page because you are paying for the advertising, but when your campaigns have finished, where will you be ranked? So unless you keep your SEO in check for the organic ranking you will need to keep paying for advertising. Having said that, both work well together and should be part of your digital marketing strategies.