SEO vs. SEM: Which is Best For Getting Customers Online?

SEO vs. SEM: Which is Best For Getting Customers Online?

As entrepreneurs trade in Yellow Pages ads for digital marketing efforts, the question of exactly where to direct time and money arises. There are many different tactics and techniques used by online marketers, and most can be placed in one of two categories: SEO or SEM.

SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to tactics used to increase the visibility of a website or web page in organic search engine results. SEM, or search engine marketing, on the other hand, refers to all paid efforts to promote a website or page in search engine results, but the term is also often used as an umbrella term to describe all online search engine marketing efforts, including SEO.

So the real question, then, is which is best for getting customers online: Paid search engine marketing, or unpaid? Well, they both have their pros and cons. Let’s take a look:

Paid SEM includes pay-per-click ads (PPC), YouTube ads, or other paid advertisements. Pay-per-click ads are effective because they are very targeted, and many business owners like the fact that they only pay when a user clicks on their ad.
Unfortunately, creating a PPC ad campaign without knowing how can mean a lot of wasted time and money, so if you’re considering this route, it may be wise to seek help from professionals.

SEO may include tactics like link building, optimizing your website for certain keywords, and ensuring that your website is updated regularly with quality content in order to achieve a higher authority and thus a higher search ranking.

This tactic is popular because it is free, and targets organic search results, which are more likely to be selected by your target audience. On the other hand, implementing successful SEO tactics for your website takes lots of time and effort, so you’ve got to be ready for a commitment!

It should also be noted that some business owners prefer to implement both paid advertisements and SEO for a very complete and well-rounded online marketing angle.

To learn more about both SEM and SEO, and how they can work to get more customers online, refer to our Ebook.

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