First off, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two different strategies in reaching your customers. One is slow and will take a while to perform while the other is quick but costly. Your optimal business strategy will be to use SEO & SEM in conjunction with each other to maximize results.
To detail the difference between SEO and SEM we will look at them separately and then analyze how they can help reach your target market.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization can be free, where you don’t have to allocate a specific monthly budget towards it. The goal is to achieve first page status on Google search results, relevant to your business. Although being cost effective, SEO will take a considerable amount of time where patience and persistence is key.
Permanent on-page optimization will be required as well as up-to-date content. If you don’t the knowledge to optimize properly, an SEO specialist or web designer can help get you started. Once you’ve implemented changes in your HTML source code, inserted keywords in metatags and create keyword rich copy, you’ll have a good head start. The next step is adding fresh content, rich in relevant keywords. This is a fundamental to SEO and will help drive traffic to your website.
Consider it a grind, although in the long run will really pay off for your business. Once you’ve reached first page status, it will be harder for someone to replace you thereafter.
Search Engine Marketing
While SEO may be free, Search Engine Marketing is all about the money! Also known as Pay-Per-Click Advertising, with SEM every click on your ad will be charged to your account. Therefore you must optimize your marketing to convert the right leads, so as not to waste money.
Although costly, SEM offers instant results and you can get higher ranking positions by increasing your bids. Utilizing your budget efficiently will require you to constantly look at your bids versus your competitors. You can lose your ranking instantly if your competitor increases their bid. Therefore a proper bidding strategy is key.
The benefit of SEM is that you don’t have to implement any on-site changes, as you do with SEO. You can also use Geo-targeting when possible, to target your customer base by region. With SEM creating short term promotional offers and running exclusive campaigns can be achieved.
Although SEM does not require lots of content, strong ad copy and relevant landing pages will help boost conversions.
Optimizing Your SEO and SEM
In conjuctionion, SEO and SEM work well together. An optimized website will provide a higher quality score, helping your Adword bids. While Adwords spending helps SEO generate traffic, through keyword searches.
Finally, in a perfect situation you would optimize your website’s SEO and have a large marketing budget to spend on SEM. Because, that is not the case for most businesses, you should choose to spend your money and time wisely. Upload fresh content on your site once your permanent SEO has been completed and find a marketing budget that fits your needs to drives traffic.