SEO vs SEM

SEO vs SEM
  • November 1, 2023

 

 

SEO vs SEM?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) focuses on generating organic traffic from search.

Search engine marketing (SEM) includes paid search and SEO.

SEM is sometimes used in conversations, in reference to paid search.

In this blog, I go through the differences between SEO and paid search. Paid search focuses on generating web traffic by running paid search ads in search engines like google. Paid search ads (e.g. google ads) use the pay per click (PPC) advertising model.

 

Table of Contents

1. What is SEO?

2. Pros of SEO

3. Cons of SEO

4. What is paid search?

5. Pros of paid search

6. Cons of paid search

7. When to use SEO?

8. When to use paid search?

9. Case Study on how to increase search engine visibility and generate quality leads

 

1. What is SEO?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) focuses on optimising your web pages to rank higher in organic search results. SEO includes 4 key activities:

  1. Keyword research

  2. On-page SEO

  3. Technical SEO

  4. Off-page SEO

 

2. Pros of SEO

Once SEO starts delivering results, you get consistent organic search traffic to your website. Your target buyer will click on your web page or blog post, as long as you have quality content that addresses their needs.

The cost associated with doing SEO is lesser in comparison to paid search. Let’s say 2000 keywords gave you a traffic of 9000 visits per month. If you were to use paid search campaigns to get that traffic. You could end up paying $31,500 per month or $378,000 per year to get that traffic. Your SEO and content team expenses will be lesser than this.

You end up having a user friendly site with SEO. You are consistently optimising your website for your target buyer. Your target buyer will take an action that you want them to take (e.g. download a checklist or schedule a digital marketing audit).

 

3. Cons of SEO

SEO takes time to deliver results. SEO includes many activities like keyword research, on-page SEO, technical SEO and off-page SEO. All these activities take time to deliver results. You also have to create informative content to address buyer needs at different stages of the buyer’s journey and marketing funnel.

SEO requires ongoing optimisations. This is because you may require content updates and google may update its algorithms. This requires ongoing optimisations to your website pages and blog posts.

SEO requires quality content. Your content needs to adhere to the EEAT (experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness) concept. This can be a problem, if you have limited resources in your organisation. This mean you will have to spend time and money to create quality content that adheres to EEAT.

 

4. What is paid search?

Paid search is a digital marketing tactic where advertisers pay search engines like Google for placing ads on search engine results pages (SERPs). Paid Search ads enables you (advertisers) to display your website or landing page at the top of search results.

 

5. Pros of paid search

Paid search delivers immediate results. It is faster to set up a paid search campaign. You can create an account in a platform like google ads and start running a paid search campaign.

Paid search allows you quickly experiment. You can set up a paid search campaign. You can run A/B tests and see if something is working or not. In contrast, SEO takes time to give you results. It can also be hard to attribute specific SEO outcomes to specific SEO activities that you completed.

Paid search also gives you high visibility in search engine result pages. If you choose the right keywords and your ad has a good quality score. Your ad will be displayed higher in search results i.e. above organic search results. This gives your website high visibility while your target buyers are searching for products or services that are similar to yours.

 

6. Cons of paid search

Paid search can be quite expensive in the long run. If you are a business in an industry that has high cost per clicks (CPCs) for keywords, this can become quite expensive very quickly. You will stop seeing results, as soon as you switch off your paid search campaigns. In contrast, SEO will continue to generate organic web traffic and leads.

Paid search listings are prefixed with the words ‘Ad’. This may deter some buyers from clicking on them as they don’t trust your business. This might be the first time, they are seeing an ad from your business.

Paid search also comes with a huge learning curve as platforms like google ads are some what complex. It might take a few attempts to create a paid search campaign that generates results for your business.

 

7. When to use SEO?

Use SEO if you want to build a consistent flow of web traffic. SEO is a long term strategy. Once you keywords start getting ranked and you web pages get to the top of search results, you will get a consistent flow of web traffic. If you continue doing your SEO optimisations, you will stay at the top of search results and will get consistent organic traffic to your website.

Use SEO if you want to build an authoritative website. An authoritative website is where your target buyers will go when then need information on a particular topic. You can position your business as an expert for a particular topic.

 

8. When to use paid search?

Use paid search if you want immediate results. Your paid search ad is immediately shown to your target buyers, once you setup a paid search campaign and your ad is approved by google ads. Paid search is good for product launches, time sensitive offers and event promotions.

Use paid search if you want to lead search results for keywords that are specific to your product or service category. The first few search results get most of the website clicks. If you want to grab your share of website clicks, then use paid search.

 

Conclusion

Search engine optimisation (SEO) focuses on getting traffic from organic search. Paid search focuses on generating web traffic by running paid search ads in search engines like google. Paid search ads (e.g. google ads) use the pay per click (PPC) advertising model.

SEO and paid search are digital marketing tactics that businesses needs to consider in their digital marketing strategy. Deciding between the two is dependent on your product, your marketing goals, your budget and other factors discussed above.

 

Watch an example to learn how a B2B company generated quality leads by increasing average daily impressions in search by 200%

 

Webinar - Case Study - Increase search engine visibility. Generate quality leads.- INNMCO (1200 × 400 px)

 

Contact our team

Grow your business with inbound marketing. Are you looking to build trust by addressing buyer needs at different stages in the buyer’s journey, raise brand awareness and generate quality leads by improving website visibility in search, attract buyers to your website and convert quality leads into customers? 
 
We are an inbound digital marketing agency, search engine marketing agency and content marketing agency based in Sydney, Australia. We are innovators and marketers with expertise in:
 

1. Content Marketing.

We use a human centred design approach to understand your target audience. Analyse how your product or service is perceived by your target audience. Find out what message resonates with them. Learn how to position your product with your target audience. We create content to address buyer needs at different stages of the buyer journey and marketing funnel.

2. Search Engine Optimisation.

We craft digital marketing strategies to generate an inbound interest for your business, product or service. Create search engine optimisation campaigns to raise brand awareness and generate leads for your business. Our search engine optimisation services include Organic Search Audit and Search Engine Optimisation services.

3. Paid Search.

We craft digital marketing strategies to generate an inbound interest for your business, product or service. Create paid search campaigns to raise brand awareness and generate leads for your business. Our google ads management services include Paid Search Audit and Paid Search (Google Ads - formerly Google AdWords).

4. Website Design and Development

Attract buyers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored for them. We design and build websites with HubSpot CMS hub. We use website themes and templates from the HubSpot themes and templates marketplace. This speeds up website build for your business. We help businesses implement blogs, live chat, landing pages and forms which are the foundation of an inbound marketing approach.

 

Book a digital marketing audit

Anees Misbahudeen | Digital Marketing Director & Founder at INNMCO

  

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