Digital marketing is evolving and becoming important for businesses. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two important aspects for businesses looking to market themselves online. The article provides introduction and features of both these and suggests which is better for businesses.
SEO is the process of optimizing websites so that it performs well and provides better rankings in search results. Appropriate usage of keywords can provide optimal search results and increase the traffic on the website. The SEO exercise helps improve the visibility and credibility of the business as it improves the search engine ranking of the website. By featuring in the first Search Engine Ranking Page (SERP), the business is visible to the internet users and it builds a confidence among users on the company. A business which is found on the 5th page of SERP of afterwards hardly gets noticed by users.
SEO also helps drive more traffic to the website. It helps potential customers to locate the business and drives targeted traffic to the website. SEO helps differentiate from the competitors and lets the business stay ahead of the curve. If two websites are offering the same products and services, then the SEO compliant website will have better chances of influencing the customers to make a purchase. SEO has significantly higher close rates(14.6%) compared to outbound close rates (1.7%). It is expected as the customers who are searching for specific products or services is more likely to make a purchase from the SERP results instead of outbound sales techniques. Outbound sales techniques are forced on the customers from outside while the customer is willing to purchase the products and services beforehand for which they are searching the web.
SEM is the umbrella under which all the digital marketing strategies including SEO, PPC etc. come. SEM is the process of digital marketing with the goal of getting more visibility in search engine through paid advertisements on search engines. SEM enables the business to appear on top of the SERP and whether the user clicks on the link or not, they will not miss out on the result listing. SEM gives instant results, unlikeSEO which takes at least 3-4 months to show results. PPC brings traffic instantly and is very effective in reaching the target audience quickly.
The results of the SEM campaign can be measured clearly. Factors related to SEM like cost, number of views, clicks, visits, and profits can be clearly measured. Businesses can choose where and when their advertisements will appear using a SEM campaign. This allows the flexibility to segment the market based on several factors like location, device, timings etc. and present the product and/or services to the potential customers. The SEM advertisements are not dependent on any algorithm changes from Google as is the case with SEO. Hence, they do not need to be changed frequently if they are already doing well due to any changes in the search engine algorithms. SEM is effective for local searches. Potential customers can see the business advertisement online and click on the advertisement to get more details. According to studies, 75% of people will visit the store if they find the advertisement online. Hence SEM is a great tool for reaching out to local potential customers.
Generally high-quality SEO is seen as a prerequisite for effective SEM strategy. Without landing pages, web pages and blog content, the SEM will not be effective. Organic SEO is also more cost-effective in the long-run. SEM is ideal for new business which want to create initial online presence and footprint quickly. However, the businesses should not ignore SEO and rely solely on SEM.