SEO and SEM both play an important role in increasing the visibility of websites in search engines. Both SEO and SEM are interlinked, connected directly under the umbrella term Search Marketing. Because when you put it in simple explanation, SEO is the process of improving your site’s quality, so it organically gets better visibility, ranks higher, and receives more valuable visitors. The critical point here is that SEO doesn’t involve paying the search engine to rank you better and can not bribe the search engine into doing this.
Moreover, SEO strategies are focused on generating organic traffic. There are many aspects of SEO that you have to consider to earn an organic ranking.
- Creating Backlinks – You earn backlinks or incoming links when other websites share your content and credit you.
- Meta Description – It is a 160-character description of your page/post. Call it the summary of a webpage.
- Organizing The Website Structure – Achieving an organized and speedy website by categorizing the content gives it a better understanding and navigating structure.
- Using Keywords Appropriately – Researching and using the right keywords to develop your web content around shows your content to the prospects right when looking for your content.
- Voice Optimization – Optimizing the content for voice searches through different techniques makes your content appear to searchers who use this kind of search.
- Featured Snippet Optimization – Creating content that gets visibility in featured snippets and position zero on Google SERPs gives you more visibility.
On the other hand, the primary focus of SEM is the same as SEO, the difference is it increases your site’s visibility to land more of your target audiences on your website. However, SEM makes use of paid marketing to achieve this goal.
You have Pay-per-click or PPC in SEM which is the amount you pay to a search engine, whenever a user clicks your product or business ad. Call it the fee you pay to the search engine to get clicks on your ad. The number of clicks you get on the ad is known as click-through- rate (CTR) and the higher the CTR, the more are the chances for sales conversion.
When you’re using SEM strategies for ranking high, you bid for a keyword. Whenever a user asks for the keyword, you have made a bid for, your ad appears on the SERP.
The rank of your ad depends on your bid. The highest bid, however, doesn’t necessarily get the highest rank. That’s because Google takes the bid quality into account too.
Whenever a user clicks your ad, you need to pay the bid amount to the search engine. It is known as cost-per-click (CPC).
It is an auction-based system where the one who pays the highest for a position enters a competition with other bidders for the quality, relevance and other factors. The winner gets the top spot against the fee that Google charges each time someone clicks the ads.
Here is a quick warpup for understanding SEO and SEM
|Uses organic traffic to the website for ranking high on the SERP||Uses paid means to rank high on the SERP|
|Can take time to generate results||Generates quick traffic and results to the website|
|Can be used with limited non-advertising budget||Requires a sound budgeting plan for advertising|
|The traffic is sustainable||The traffic vanishes when the payment stops|
|Good for long term ranking goals||Good for short-term ranking goals|
The Pros and Cons of SEO
Now that we have understood the basics of SEM and SEO, let’s get to know what are their advantages and disadvantages.
- It Retains your Web Traffic
Once you have crafted and implemented the SEO strategies, there’s no need to sustain the traffic. Organic traffic has a longer life than paid traffic, which leads to building the website authority over time. Business owners don’t need to hold their horses though consistent efforts are needed to retain the ranks.
- It is Cheap in the Long Run
You invest initially, but there’s no need to buy clicks through payments. If you have implemented a smart set of SEO strategies, you will be getting traffic that constantly drives conversions.
Even though SEO proves to sustain web traffic and is cheap, here are the downsides to it.
- It Does not Give Instant Results
SEO is a long road. There’s consistent effort involved in it, and sadly, there are no shortcuts. You do every right thing and keep waiting to get the desired rank because many competitors are putting in the same efforts. It’s a long queue you have to wait in
- It Requires Developing Rich and Unique Content
SEO is a content-centric approach, content that is competitive and unique at the same time. It takes much time to develop the right appealing content for your website. It is virtual labor, which can get frustrating at times.
The Pros and Cons of SEM
- It is Swift
As mentioned above, SEM can generate web traffic quickly. Once your ad goes on the SERP, your CTR spikes high.
- It Allows Experimentation
This model allows experimentation with different ads. You can test multiple ads for their performances and or the efficiency of different and the calls-to-action too.
- It is Expensive
Bidding for clicks is expensive. The clicks in competitive niches can sometimes get more costly than the product itself. SEM is not a good option to opt for in such a case.
- PaidTraffic Vanishes when you Stop Paying
Once you stop paying for the clicks, the CTR goes down drastically.
Both SEO and SEM are good in different terms, with SEO you can have a cheap installation for the long run, but it takes time since it does not give instant results. But if you are the type that wants a faster result you can choose SEM although it will cost you a lot. But pros and cons are just perks and handicaps in building for your business it still depends on how you manage one of these strategies.
SEO vs PPC: Which is Better for my Business?
We understand both SEO and SEM along with advantages and disadvantages, now let’s talk about ‘Which is better for business’. But we need to take in mind that these may be based on different scenarios in your business condition. Or might be depending on your strategy.
When to choose SEO?
Before diving into the scenarios where SEO is more appropriate, don’t forget that SEO strategies take more time to produce results. Additionally, they need consistent efforts to maintain the SERP ranking. Although there are no direct costs involved when you’re choosing SEO strategies for your website, there are costs involved in the process. Even if you DIY the Search Engine Optimization without involving an expert, you need to pay for the subscription of research tools without which SEO is impossible.
- When There Are Long Term Benefits Involved
SEO strategies do not give you an instant ranking. You may need to wait for years to secure the highest rank, but you have sustained web traffic once you do it correctly.
- When You Want To Have An Authority Website
SEO is a tough process, but it has its perks too. The best part is that your website becomes an authority website if the backlink profile is strong. People will start choosing your site to find relevant results on your website for an extended period. They start to trust your website for their queries and treat it as an information center.
- When Your Advertising Budget Is Limited
Even though SEO involves some costs, it is still inexpensive. All you need to do is invest some money in the initial stages for getting tools of SEO. Later on, use the same tools for years to earn yourself high ranks.
When to Choose SEM?
As stated earlier, SEM are good if a business wants fast results and wants to set up recognition for services and products. Although SEM is a double-edge of flaws and benefits for business with a good timing and strategy, conversion will be easy-peasy.
- When You Have An Innovative Product/Service To Sell
If you’re entering an untapped market, Google ads can help you find customers. There’s no way to go for SEO strategies in this scenario. All your efforts will go down the drain due to one single fact: Not enough people are searching for your products, so your SEO results won’t help much.
But, PPC ads do not necessarily show up as a result of relevant searchers. There are more ways you could use PPC campaigns to successfully reach potentials that are not even currently searching for you.
- When You Have A Time Limit For An Event
You’re aiming to pitch a particular event for which you cannot wait. It can be an end of season sale or the launch of a new product line. You cannot use SEO only and wait for people to click organically on your web page.
- When You Need Instant Results
SEM gives instant results. People searching for the keywords quickly rush to the ads they see if they need your services urgently.
SEO and SEM are both effective in different scenarios. We cannot conclude with the notion that one of them is superior to another. Any of these models, if applied correctly, can garner the required results.
A smartly crafted advertising strategy for any small or large business can prove to be fruitful. The core facts of digital advertising will remain constant. It requires a lot of effort to grab the top spot on a SERP. No matter which strategy you choose, you have to put your heart and soul to it.
As an SEO and SEM expert, incorporate both the SEO and SEM in your marketing strategy and see the results soaring through the roof.
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