SEO and SEM often confuse people. They often tend to think SEO & SEM are same but there is a huge difference between both. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) stands for optimizing a website such that it attracts the organic unpaid traffic. While, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) focuses on inviting the traffic from paid search.
Firstly, it’s worth noting that Google has two types of search results. They are paid & organic search results. SEM purely focuses on paid marketing for your website including Google Search, Display, Remarketing & Video Ads. While, with SEO, results aren’t influenced by any sort of paid activities. The traffic on a website is purely organic.
SEO vs. SEM – The Differences
The key differences between SEO and SEM are as follows:
1. Fast Results: One of the foremost differences between SEO and SEM is the timeframe of the results. SEO takes a considerable amount of time before delivering the results. While, the results with SEM are quick & almost instantaneous.
2. Results Visibility: When you compare both tactics, you will also notice a considerable difference in the results visibility. Results from SEM often include ad extensions, which usually incorporates information like important links, contact numbers, etc.
Thus, next time whenever you see a contact number below the title of the search results, you should know that the website owner has set up a SEM campaign. On the other hand, SEO results often come with title, description & featured snippets SEO organic results show up below google maps while SEM results show up on the top of the page & at the very bottom of the page.
3. The Cost: As said earlier, SEM works on CPC & CPM model. Thus, for every click your website gets, you will have to pay the bid amount. While the results you get from SEO are completely organic and free. All you need to do is invest your hard work and be a bit patient.
4. Target Your Audience: SEM allows you to choose your audience and target the same with various filters like location, Ad schedule (timings), etc. and with additional info like phone number, address etc. While, with SEO, you can’t choose these parameters. Thus, SEM gives you more control over your target audience.
5. The Flexibility: No matter what you do, strategizing it and implementing the same requires an abundance of efforts. With SEM, you get flexibility of making changes with ease like revising the ad copy, changing the audience preferences, and much more. Also, the change in results will be instant. While, with SEO, changing tactics and results change will demand more time.
6. CTR: Top organic SEO results have higher organic CTR as compared to SEM. Thus, if you succeed to rank your website at top by using SEO, they will be much better as compared to results from SEM. But, if the SEO doesn’t work for you, and if your website doesn’t rank, chances of outperforming the SEM results are meagre.
7. An Ad Label: The results that appear through SEM campaign appear with an Ad label alongside it. While, with SEO, no such label appears. As a part of the SEM results, you will see an Ad icon on the left hand side of the search results.
8. Duration of Impact: The impact of the results through SEM are reflected as long as you pay for your ads to be displayed. As soon as you stop paying, the ads disappear, and the impact nullifies. While, with SEO, the impact keeps on growing as the time progresses and the results keep on getting better and better.
Which Tactic should I go with?
So, what’s the conclusion? Which tactic is best for your website? Which tactic will deliver you the long lasting results?
Well, if we carefully analyze the differences of these tactics, we come to know that both campaigns are extremely useful. In fact, it depends on the niche of your website when it comes to selecting any one of them. Have a look at the following table where we list various conditions you need to analyze before deciding any tactic.
|Keyword Competition||Go with SEM if keyword competition is high||You can select SEO if keyword competition in your niche is low|
|Your Knowledge||If you have no idea about the market segment and if you are in testing mode, you can go with SEM.||But, if you are aware of every in and out of the market segment and you want long term results, SEO is your answer.|
|Your Domain Age||If your domain is new and if you are starting to build your online presence from scratch, SEM can be your answer.||If your domain is a bit older and acquires some DA, SEO can be your answer.|
|Your Budget||If the CPC of your niche is low or else if it fits your||If the CPC of your niche is high or else doesn’t fits your budget, go with SEO.|
|budget, you can go with SEM.|
|Timeframe||Go with SEM if you want quick results.||Go with SEO if you are not concerned about timeframe at all and if you want organic traffic on your website.|
Finally, analyze your competition. Study their tactics, their rankings on the keyword. It will give you the best viewpoint on the tactic you can go with.
At Pat’s Marketing, we suggest going with a mix of both SEO & SEM if budget permits you to do so. This ensures your organic positioning builds up gradually and meanwhile you can also get business from SEM. Reach out to Pat’s Marketing, Toronto SEO Agency, at 888-488-7287 and we will be happy to discuss your SEO & SEM needs and provide you the best advice.