Choosing Between SEO and SEM

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two digital methods that can be used to increase the visibility of a company. The latter is also popularly known as Pay Per Click (PPC). As the name suggests, you pay to make your product or service visible when you employ SEM. In fact, the main difference between SEO and SEM is that the former tries to get a site well ranked organically, meaning that with SEO you do not have to pay anybody to get good rankings. As a business owner, given the choice between the two which would you choose? Moreover, while it is possible to use either or both are you better off using only one or both?

Pros and Cons Of SEO

As stated above, a site that solely employs SEO aims to rise to the top of SERP organically. The fact that you do not pay for this is persuasive but remember that the process can be rather painstaking. If you made an online search for almost any product you’ll find millions of websites. That tells you that it will take plenty of work to get your site ranked on the first page of the search engine result page. This work might involve getting the services of a consultant or having a well-known copywriter craft the copy that could make your site rank well. For instance, there is a Spokane SEO company we have been talking to that explained this thoroughly the first phone call.

With SEO you’ll also have to constantly keep an eye on the activities of your competitors – you’ll want to find out why they are ranking better than or what you need to do to retain your ranking if you are ahead of them.

The results of an SEO campaign also take time and might disappoint those out for instant results. Even when you have an excellently built website that has awesome content, it might still take months for your site to get decent rankings.

Pros and Cons of SEM

SEM aims to accelerate the ranking of a site by making use of sponsored advertisements. This means that you could get your site a very good ranking in a very short time. Remember though, that you are paying for this ranking and sustaining such a campaign could prove very costly.

Another downside to the use of SEM is that what you are doing can be done by the competition – they too have the money to pay for sponsored ads. In a fiercely competitive industry where everybody decides to go this route the cost of SEM could ultimately prove prohibitive.

How about mixing the two?

Unlike what many people believe it is possible to run both SEO and SEM campaigns at the same time. This ensures that you get the best of both worlds. When you want to get visible as quickly as possible, you should consider initiating an SEM campaign while developing the infrastructure that will in the future help you rank well organically. For every company, the dream is to rank well organically as such ranking is much more sustainable. Remember also that the largest amount of web traffic is generated through SEO.

A successful SEO campaign requires the collection of huge amounts of data and you might take too much time getting this data. Since you can implement SEM immediately, you can very quickly get the data you wanted. Such a campaign will show you what people are searching for and will pinpoint the keywords you need to concentrate on. This aids greatly in the creation of content for your SEO campaign.

The ranking of most sites on the SERPs keep fluctuating and it is, therefore, possible that you were ranked on the first page three months ago but your site now is almost obscure. What could have happened? The easiest way to find out what could be going on is to launch an SEM campaign. Since this allows for almost instant ranking, you’ll be able to find out how people are conducting their searches. You might, therefore, discover that there’s a new set of keywords and keyword phrases that you need to develop content to make sure that you regain your previous or even better ranking.

When all is said and done, SEM and SEO should not be viewed as competing. In fact the two complement each other and the success of one does not mean the failure of the other. That is why you’ll find that even companies that are ranking well organically for certain keywords still do conduct SEM.