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Which Is Better – SEO or SEM?

After the successful development of any product, it is the quality of marketing that will determine its authority in the market. Marketers look for cost-effective ways to improve their brands online without being inclined to spend a lot of budgets. Pushing the agenda of marketing are two commonly used strategies, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Which of the two is however the ideal one to use for your campaign? Join us below to understand the difference between these two contrasting marketing theories and how efficient they can be when used perfectly. 

What is SEO?

Search Engines Optimization is a framework to improve the organic visibility of a website in its respective search engine. It is part of the many requirement search engine algorithm assess before determining how a website will rank on SERPs. The different factors that determine ranking in an SEO plan include content quality, page experience or usability, proper linking, and even responsiveness to a device. SEO as a package relies on the following individual elements combined in a strategy for organic rankings and traffic.

  • On-Page SEO – These are SEO strategies that are done directly on your website, for instance optimizing the titles, keywords, and content posted. Quality on-page SEO will make it easier for search engine algorithms to determine what the page is really about. The strategies used for On-Page SEO include optimizing the image, title tags, headings, descriptions, and alt tags for your website. Proper content creation and keyword research also play a crucial role in the visibility of a website online. 
  • Off-Page SEO – Just like On-Page SEO hacks, these are strategies that are done offline or off the website to promote a general SEO score. One of the commonly used Off-Page SEO strategies is backlinks which entail getting referrals from other websites. Social media integration is also done at this point to connect you with your target audience online. For some businesses, social media can be a customer care platform where they interact and resolve customer conflicts.
  • Content marketing – SEO agencies also use content marketing as a strategy to improve the traffic on a website. Content on your website has to be expertly written and catchy at the same time. This means using authoritative and credible sources of information to attract new traffic to your site. Properly written content alongside carefully fixed keywords should help with both the rankings and visibility on SERPs. 
  • Technical SEO aspects- Other aspects of your websites are not covered by either On-Page or Off-Page SEO. This is where the technical SEO aspect comes in covering areas like coding, CMS, robots.txt, site loading speed, XML sitemaps, and lastly the URL structure. By reviewing and improving these sections, the website aligns with the objectives of core web vitals for the search engine used. 

What is Search Engine Marketing?

This is also another form of marketing that places a website at the front of SERPs provided the payments are made. Unlike free SEO, this procedure relies on Pay per Click method (PPC). You can purchase these PPC ads from platforms like Google Ads, Yahoo and Bing Ads from Microsoft. When you resolve to use PPC to get organic traffic and conversion, you must determine the right budget for the campaign first. Capitalizing on different types of Ads that suit your needs as a business is also a must and that means measuring success after every small progress. You will furthermore have to be creative in the type of ads you want to run after a full understanding of the target viewer audience. Businesses prefer the SEM method because it is effective and also allows for controlled spending where only clicked ads are paid for. This method of marketing a website even allows adjusting of levers during an ongoing campaign as one sees fit based on their observations. 

Which is better, SEO or SEM?

Businesses get torn between using either of these methods to promote their website, however they can both complement one another in special circumstances rather than being considered over the other. Several factors determine which strategy to use amongst the two including your budget, objectives, stage of business growth, and lastly existing competition. Here are two contrasts of when using each of these methods is beneficial. 

  • SEO – this method is perfect for a business that is starting out and still has plenty of time to grow and refine its strategies. It remains the best way to generate leads and sales which means it is not ideal for urgency in marketing. SEO is also perfect for you if you want to build a reputation that is solid from different brands online. This is because it entails creating rapport with your audience and familiarizing your brand with them. Lastly SEO is a long-term investment that has proven more often than not to bear the results based on what your needs are as a website. 
  • SEM is a perfect strategy for a well-established business with ready brands but without the online recognition needed. It is the one to go for when targeting immediate results which also means you will spend more than the budget set aside for SEO. You can choose to use the top-of-page or the bottom-of-page. The strategy is also worthy when used to determine the efficiency of keywords and how they fit with search engine user terms. 

Can I Combine The Two? 

As much as these strategies can be used individually depending on the goals you are working on, they can also be blended to form effective campaign strategies. They are perfect for dominating the Search Engines Result Pages (SERPs). Hiring the right digital marketing and SEO agency will give you the best experience on how to balance the two. Start by doing background research on the company before hiring and agree beforehand on the services you will need to be delivered and for how long. This simplifies the hiring process which reduces the possibility of hiring frauds that will waste your time and budget.

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