Which Is The Best Way To Get Traffic To Your Website: Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
What every CEO and entrepreneur wants is a blueprint to get their website on page number one of Google search results and that requires Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and a little bit of good luck. This article describes SEM and SEO and defines their role in developing a winning blueprint for internet success. It discusses the pros and cons of each.
Wikipedia defines internet marketing this way,”… it ties together creative and technical aspects of the Internet: design, development, advertising, and sales.” SEM and SEO are a part of a total Internet marketing campaign that works to improve the search engine visibility of your webpage in search engine results.
SEM is an important part of promoting your business online and because ROI is important, businesses should use analytical software to track visitors, collect data to help improve their site for their visitors and increase conversion rates. SEM is paid internet advertising. That is, you have to pay the search engine (the publisher of the ad) to advertise your website or product/service.
For example, the most effective advertising channel in the world is pay-per-click advertising. This advertising channel can help millions of internet users find your product and you only need to pay when they click on your ad: Google AdWords is an example of a pay-per-click provider.
SEM is a very target specific marketing method. You will have full control over what you want it to do and how you want to do it. It is a unique marketing strategy that offers many advantages. A qualified SEM consultant can develop your digital marketing plan so you get a cost-effective, low-risk solution, giving you the freedom to defy the limitations and avoid the costs and risks of traditional marketing techniques. SEM is the quickest and most effective way to bring new users to your website. It involves strategically using search engines to promote a company’s products and services. This is a new and exciting area of internet marketing, and one that is constantly growing and changing.
SEM involves a combination of free website submissions, forum marketing, blogging, article submissions, paid search engine listings and a host of other marketing methods – some paid, some free. It is an umbrella term combining SEO with paid methods of marketing such as PPC campaigns and any paid for appearances or inclusions on the internet.
Paid advertisements should still be optimized for top placement amongst the results. And, although organic results will get more attention from visitors, the value of having your name right up there at the top of results from SEM should never be dismissed. Paid Inclusion is often used for time-sensitive websites which require frequent updates, or to keep the search engine index of a high standard.
SEO; on the other hand is a fickle process that changes from search engine to search engine. There is no guaranteed formula as to the success of your SEO, nor are there any hard and fast rules that anyone can follow. SEO might be better described as “website optimization”. SEO is the art of creating a website that waves its arms in the search engines face (Google, Yahoo, MSN…) and says, “Here I AM!” It is a dynamic part of your online marketing mix and should not be ignored or underestimated as a lead generator. SEO is hard work, research and relevancy.
SEO is a longer term process, especially for brand new sites, and can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to achieve a top ranking. But the difference between starting to implement SEO today and starting to implement SEO in 12 months could be disastrous, especially if your competitors get on the bandwagon before you do. SEO is a fluid process with rankings now changing on a daily basis. SEO also works well in combination with other SEM disciplines such as traffic analytics. SEM, on the other hand, is a part of even larger entity called Internet Marketing and operates on a rather narrow but effective platform which focuses only on search engines as its marketing delivery ground.
SEM is easier to set-up and is more flexible than SEO as it can be turned on and off with ease. SEO is a long term strategy and not one suited to time critical traffic generation. If you seek traffic that can be turned on and off with little more than your say so then perhaps it is time to consider other options such as Pay per Click marketing.
SEM is an extremely cost effective and highly accountable form of advertising. It delivers pre-qualified users direct to your website and all activity can be tracked through to customer acquisition. SEM is one of the only types of online advertising that is displayed to potential customers “on demand”. Customers search actively for a specific term or phrase and expect relevant results to be returned. SEM is a process which takes time and patience. The next step is to create a schedule of monthly efforts.
SEM is a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website, and just because it’s paid doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Google AdWords is a popular form of SEM, used by small and large businesses alike.
SEO traffic converts significantly higher than SEM traffic as web users tend to trust organic search results more than paid search results and thus convert at a higher rate. SEO also works well in combination with other SEM disciplines such as traffic analytics.
SEO is not purely a technical discipline, nor is it a pure marketing task. It requires communication between the IT department responsible for the development of website code and the marketing department, responsible for the content of the website. There are many different activities which can be implemented to achieve a top ranking, but what was working yesterday, may not work today. SEO is about maximizing your search engine positioning. You can Do-it-yourself or engage a search engine consultant to do the work for you.
SEO is free to perform and renders no cost when your websites listing is clicked. Other benefits include larger listings in the search results and the ability to rank for large amount of long tail keywords. SEO is about maximizing your search engine positioning.