You know how important search engines are to your business. Billions are spent annually by businesses across the world in order to get in front of people searching for information and products.

SEM and SEO are two marketing tactics to get your business website at the top of search results. How do you know which one to use in your business?

Read on to compare the differences between SEO vs SEM and when each one should be used to market your business website.

Why Search Engines are So Important

You still might be wondering why it’s so important to get to the top of search engines. Isn’t enough just to be listed.

Yes, it’s important to have your website listed in search engines. However, if you want search engines to drive traffic to your website, you need to be at the top of search results.

Think like someone searching for information online. They’re likely to be on a mobile device, and they want to find information fast.

About 75% of all searchers don’t go past the first page. You might think that if you get on the first page, that’s good enough to get traffic. Yes and no.

About a third of all clicks go to the first search result. Now, when you factor in a higher conversion rate for search traffic than most forms of advertising, you’re really in business.

SEO vs. SEM: What’s the Difference?

SEO means search engine optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing your website, content., and your entire online presence to get your site to organically rank higher in search engines.

SEM stands for search engine marketing. This is the use of paid ads to get your site to appear at the top of search results.

You may have heard of PPC ads. That means pay-per-click, which is the type of advertising that search engines tend to use. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

They’re both very important components of a marketing strategy and they can generate higher quality leads and traffic to your business.

When to Use SEO vs. SEM

There are very distinct advantages to using SEM and SEO. There are also disadvantages to using each. For example, SEO depends on momentum to build up over time. It can be several months before you start to see real results from SEO.

On the other hand, SEM can get your website listed at the top of the search results right away. Of course, you need to have a solid bidding strategy and a landing page set up to capture leads.

SEM is good to use for product launches, sales that have a specific time period, or if you want to get in front of people when they’re ready to buy.

SEO is good to build your brand and to build a relationship with your prospects over time. SEO can be used to reach prospects at various stages of the buying cycle.

When someone is thinking about buying a product or service, they’ll go online first. For example, if someone wants to buy a camera for beginners, they’ll search for “best cameras for beginning photographers.”

They’ll then find specific brands or models to compare and then search for “canon t7I vs Nikon 5600.”

At each of these stages, you can write blog posts that target these keywords. That will give site visitors valuable information that helps them make a decision. You’re also building credibility and trust at the same time.

When they’re ready to buy, they’ll search for “camera stores near me.” Your camera store appears at the top of search results, thanks to SEM and SEO.

The person searching is already familiar with your store. They already trust you based on previous interactions, and they’ll go to your site and make a purchase.

Components of an SEM Campaign

An SEM campaign can be used in search engines like Google or Bing. Most people prefer Google because that search engine has the most market share.

When you set up an SEM campaign, you need to have the right keywords to target, a budget, ad text, and a website to lead people to.

It is best to have a specific landing page set up with a call to action. Someone can go to your website, not find what they need, and you lose them forever. A landing page will have content that’s highly targeted to that specific search, making it more likely that someone will stay on that page to find out more.

Components of an SEO Campaign

To rank high in organic search results, you have to have a lot more pieces in place. Google’s algorithm takes more than 200 factors into account when displaying search results.

You don’t need to know all 200, but there are some things that you have to have in place. For example, you need to have a fast website. You also need to have HTML code on your website (title tags, meta descriptions) that tell Google what your site is about.

Not only that, you have to provide content that’s considered to be quality content. It also has to be relevant to what people are searching for.

It’s no wonder why SEO takes a while to build momentum.

Using SEO and SEM Together

There are big benefits to using both SEO and SEM in your marketing efforts.

You can use them to attack different keywords, using SEO earlier in the buying process, and SEM later in the buying process.

If you’re a new brand, you can invest in both SEM and SEO. SEM can be used to build awareness and jump-start your business, while you build up SEO.

SEO and SEM for Marketing Your Business

When you compare SEO vs SEM, it’s easy to look at them as two separate marketing tactics. Rather than looking at them as competing tactics, they can work together to bring great results to your business.

Do you want to know more about SEO and SEM? Contact us today to find out how we can help you get more traffic to your website.

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