The Divergence Between SEO and SEM
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” – Henry Ford
Article by Nicole Serrano
Graphics Design by Frank Cadag
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marketing tactic focused on increasing the growing visibility of a website through organic means (non-paid) in search engine results. It increases the quantity and quality of traffic to your website and improves the ranking in search engines like Google and Bing, with no generated payment. This usually involves enhancing content by using popular organic keywords that are most searched over the internet.
What components does SEO include?
– Incorporating selective keyword naturally into title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, alt text, etc.
– Blog posts and page copy that is written and optimized with quality
– Clean and formatting page URLS
– Optimized page load speed
– Mobile Optimization
– Creating a high quality, natural backlink profile (a.k.a. having other high quality/authoritative sites link to your site naturally)
– Social media connections
– Social bookmarking (Stumbleupon, Reddit)
What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is paid internet marketing that increases your website’s visibility in search engine results and other web pages. This paid search strategy can be more specific when it comes to targeting customers, and search visibility is earned strictly through paid advertisements. These are the ads that appear above the organic listings in search engine results.
What components does SEM include?
– PPC Advertisements
– Social Media Marketing
What are the differences between SEO and SEM?
SEO focuses on organic means to grow internet visibility, while SEM is a paid search strategy that can get you on top of search engine results fast. SEO is free, but it takes a lot of time, research, and knowledge on what keywords to use and what strategy to apply for things to work, whereas SEM will cost you money, but results are faster, and you can specifically target what kind of audience you want to reach.
Determining which one to use would depend on the kind of website or brand. SEO takes a lot of time and knowledge, so if your website is new and you want results fast, it may be better to start off with SEM first, as the search engine may not be familiar yet with your domain and contents. With SEM, you can set up your campaign as early as within the day or the next.
Both methods are important for websites, but everything will depend on the timing and the kind of results that you want to produce. Executing SEO can experience a measurable increase in organic visits over an extended period, while SEM is all about short-term gains in traffics and click-through rates (CTR).
As mentioned earlier, if the website is new then we suggest SEM to get your website out there fast, but in the long run, SEO lays the foundation for quality content that customers will find useful.
Keep in mind that while SEO is technically free, you need to take into consideration that not everyone can just do their SEO for themselves. This entails a lot of time, knowledge, and experience for your SEO to work, which is why companies are now hiring professional SEO Specialists from Singapore web developers to help market their business.
Which is better: SEO or SEM?
Each has its respective benefits and costs.
With SEO, organic results are 8.5 times more likely to be clicked because visitors are now seeing the difference between organic and sponsored results, identifying organic as a more respected source. On the other hand, SEM’s paid search results are 1.5 times more likely to convert click-through from search engines because the keywords and the landing page have already been optimized by the advertiser.
What’s good about SEO is that over the time, you are building well-optimized content that lets you establish credibility on the internet. SEM works fast but it may fall flat if your focus is only on the clicks and search visibility. In the long run, this will be costly and may only generate to bounce rates and low conversions.
Same as what we mentioned earlier, there is no such thing as which is better, rather it’s all about timing and the results that you need. Both methods are equally important, depending on your goals.
If you’re just launching your company, SEM is the best way to build brand awareness and immediate visibility. It is also an effective way to get exposure when you have special promos or events that you want to advertise.
In short, SEO is a long-term marketing strategy that lets you build organic credibility, while SEM provides instant search results based on the advertising campaign.
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