Ever wondered if SEO was better than SEM? Or vice versa? Then you’ve came to the right place! We’ll explore each of these business practices in depth, and then come to a suitable consensus!
- SEO and SEM are both powerhouse marketing processes that many companies will use.
- SEO is organic marketing that aims to take you to the top of the search results.
- SEM, on the other hand, is paid marketing that takes you to the top by placing ads on your link.
- The importance of whichever is better for businesses is debatable.
The Internet was – and still is – making waves in the way that people search for information. According to Datareportal, 4.57 billion people worldwide (close to 60% of the global population) use the Internet. Since many people today are turning to search engines like Google to complete various web searches, the concept alone is enough to be one of the most powerful tools that many companies will take advantage of.
But, as you’ll see in a moment, two powerhouse marketing processes will come into play: SEO and SEM. Both are meant to bring in more exposure to businesses, and eventually drive traffic. But even if you consult local digital marketers Idaho-based experts, you will still left in a dilemma on which online advertising to choose.
Since the two are used to generate brand awareness and website traffic through search engines, and many businesses want to optimize their online content to better promote and sell their products and services, it’s almost unclear to see which is the better strategy, despite having their own pros and cons.
In this article, we’ll explore both marketing strategies, how they benefit businesses, and why they matter. And then, we’ll attempt to solve the mystery: SEO or SEM?
So, let’s take a closer look at the two strategies:
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of the most useful digital marketing tools to have, since it focuses on search queries being made by users online. In fact, Forbes defines SEO as a tool that uses organic tactics to appear in search engine results. Basically, this marketing strategy strives to send you to the top of the search results.
How SEO works
SEO helps search engines like Google determine your ranking. According to Moz, 75% of users will do one of three things:
- Click on the first or second results
- Scan Page One to find the best answer to their query, OR
- Visit multiple “first” results
Therefore, not many users will venture past Page One, no matter which search engine they use.
Benefits of SEO
The main benefit of SEO is brand awareness. In other words, it pays to be the first result in a search engine, whenever users type in a keyword. So, the more visibility you have, the more likely users will click on you. Once more and more users click on you, you’ll see your conversion rates increase – that’s a good thing!
Why SEO matters
As mentioned earlier, whenever users type into a search bar (from any search engine), results will pop up, with the most relevant ones at the top. And since users trust search engines, and they know that the most relevant stuff is on top, it’s important for your website to meet them there, or else you’ll never be in the running.
What is SEM?
On the other side of the ring is SEM.
SEM, or search engine marketing, used to overshadow SEO, when it came to marketing strategies. But nowadays, SEO steals the spotlight, even though some companies and individuals still use SEM without knowing it. That’s because SEM is all about the money. In other words, SEM is a form of paid marketing.
How SEM works
SEM is all about paid advertising, unlike SEO. Forbes suggests that SEM “puts your webpage at the top of the search engine results page (SERP),” which is labeled with a “sponsored ad tag.” Paid marketing tools like Google Adwords and Facebook Ads are good examples of SEM, since they target certain audiences (based on their interests, locations, search queries, etc.).
Benefits of SEM
SEM lets you place ads where search results will be. In fact, when you type in a keyword in a search engine, the first thing that pops up is usually a search result with the little denotation labelling it an ad. In short, it’s the equivalent of buying advertising space in the hopes of ranking higher in the search results.
Why SEM matters
SEM matters, because it’s a way to be targeted by users. In other words, you’re making sure that you get clicks from a very specific audience. What does that mean? People who look for you are already interested in what you have in store for them. So, if they click, there’s a much greater chance that they’ll buy from you.
So, which is better?
So, now that we explored what SEO and SEM are, the question still remains: Which is better?
The answer is this: It all depends on two things:
- Your specific business, AND
- The goals that you have in place
So, even if you choose SEM to get immediate results, you might still need SEO to ensure that your website is credible.
As you can see, SEO and SEM are both in digital marketing. But again, whichever you use depends on your business needs. Ultimately, you’ll must tailor your marketing strategy to not only tweak your website from the inside out, but also improve your general online presence.
We hope you take these marketing strategies, and see which ones work for you!