SEM vs. SEO: What’s The Difference And Which One’s Best For My Business?

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Nowadays, especially since COVID-19, when consumers need to browse or buy products and services, or even find out more about a business, they do it on search engines like Google. If you want to market your offerings or increase your business’ exposure, you need to meet them where they are.

SEO and SEM are digital marketing tactics that help you do this. They promote your offerings to relevant prospects in their own ways. Which one’s best for your business? Let’s start by understanding their differences.

SEO vs. SEM: Back To Basics

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation):

SEO involves using commonly searched terms (or keywords) relevant to your business to expose your offerings to precisely targeted prospects that are already interested in them. It brings organic (unpaid) traffic to your website based on the search terms they use.

Usually done through an SEO agency in Sydney, keyword research will identify the most relevant, popular, and effective keywords used by potential customers for your niche. Then, these keywords would be incorporated into your website and content to expose them to searchers in search engine results pages (SERPs). When done well, they should show up (rank) as one of the top results on the first pages – as no consumer dares search any further.

For example, if you sell coffee pods, you may target “best coffee pods.” When a user looking to buy coffee pods inputs this into Google, your website or product page will show up as one of the top results (hopefully). It’s important to note that SEO is a long-term strategy. You gain quality traffic over time as your keyword usage and content creation increases.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing):

SEM, on the other hand, uses paid adverts to target and attract relevant prospects already searching for your offerings in SERPs. It’s also often referred to as ‘paid search’ or ‘PPC’ (Pay-Per-Click: you only pay once they click). The most popular and effective PPC platform of 2020 is Google Ads (once AdWords). As platforms such as this can be quite complex, PPC specialists use well-researched tactics and targeting to manage your campaigns in the most effective, profitable manner.

Essentially, SEM increases your business’ visibility in SERPs, as these ads rank front-and-center at the top of each page above the organic results. As they also rely on keywords, PPC ads bring relevant traffic to your business, making them more likely to follow-through. As SEM is a paid tactic, the results are nearly instantaneous.

So, what does this mean for your business? Let’s take a closer look.

The Best Of Both Worlds

To put it simply, SEO and SEM don’t compete with each other – they complete each other. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy that brings in ever-increasing targeted, organic, unpaid traffic over time. SEM is a short-term strategy that brings in instant, targeted traffic through paid advertising. As a small business, you may benefit from first building your online presence and generating unpaid traffic through SEO. Once you’ve generated enough revenue, you can then move onto paid PPC campaigns.

To learn more about SEO, SEM, and the world of digital marketing, visit Smart Finch Marketing’s blog for our specialist insights and advice. If you’d like to start dominating your digital domain, book a free strategy session with us now!

Related Tag: Google Ads Agency Sydney

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