SEM Vs. SEO: Which Should you focus on?

The main difference between SEM and SEO is basically the paid element of SEM. In this article we’ll be looking at what exactly SEM and SEO are, and how you can determine which marketing method is the best option for your business.

What is SEM

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) involves utilising paid and organic methods to drive traffic back to your website. Due to the organic aspect of SEM, SEO can be seen as a part of SEM, however, the main purpose of SEM is to drive traffic to your website QUICKLY.

With this in mind PPC is seen as the main element of SEM. PPC is ‘Pay Per Click’ advertising. This involves creating ads that invite users to click through to your website. With PPC, you are paying for each one of these clicks.

What is SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) drives organic traffic to your website. In other words, free traffic. SEO involves optimising your website so that it ranks higher in search engine results.

The two main elements of SEO are:

  • On site optimisation; and
  • Off-site optimisation

Unlike SEM, SEO takes time to bring in results. This marketing method requires patience, consistency and a considerable amount of effort to bring in results. Due to the constant changes to Google’s algorithm, SEO also requires marketers to update their website regularly to reflect these changes.

SEM VS. SEO: which should you focus on?

At Get Digi With It, we would recommend utilising both marketing methods in conjunction with one another to see the greatest short-term and long-term results for your business. We understand that this is not possible for all businesses.

When it comes to choosing SEM vs. SEO for your business there are many things to consider. We’ve put together our top three questions to ask yourself when trying to make this decision.

When do you need to see results?

I need results now!
If you’re looking for instant results then SEM is definitely the option for you. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint – you will not see instant results here.

If you need to see ROI now then creating a PPC ad will allow you to immediately drive traffic back to your website. When creating your PPC ad ensure that your copy is relevant to your landing page.

This is recommended for you if you are launching a new product, a new website, or simply need to make quick sales to hit your revenue targets.

I don’t need to see results straight away
If you are not in a hurry to see results and have a few months up your sleeve, then SEO is an option to consider. Use the time you have to focus on the keywords that you need to see results with. For example, if you are re-launching a certain product, use the name of that products as the keyword to be focusing on for the next few months.

Use this time to:

  • create blog post surrounding the product;
  • Share the articles throughout social media;
  • Create buzz through PR articles that will gain you backlinks to the site;
  • Push for reviews of the original product; and
  • Create a ‘coming soon’ landing page that has been SEO optimised.

How much money do you have to spend?

Budget is not an issue
If budget is not an issue for your business, then SEM is an option to consider. This is not to say that a successful PPC campaign is dependant on a large budget. There are many different elements to creating a successful PPC campaign – having a budget is just a small part of the equation.

We have a small budget
Before casting PPC aside due to a small budget, do your keyword research so that you understand what your cost per click will be. You may still be able to run a successful campaign on a small budget.

If you find that your budget will not suffice for an effective PPC campaign then SEO is what you should consider for your business. As mentioned earlier, SEO uses free tactics to bring organic traffic to your website.

What resources do you have to spare?

We are limited in how much time and manpower we can spare
If you’re business s running at full capacity with little free time, or man power to spare then SEM is the better option for you. SEM does require a lot of time and attention to be effective, including keyword research, competitor analysis, and bid adjustments. However, it does not require as much constant commitment long-term.

This means that although there will be a considerable amount of time spent on your PPC campaigns initially, this will not be required later on. This is only true if you are focusing on one campaign. Each new campaign will require the same amount of leg work.

Resources are not an issue
If you have the time, the resources and the man power to commit to the regular creation and uploading of content, then consider SEO for your business marketing needs. As with and SEM PPC campaign, you will still be required to conduct keyword research, competitor analysis etc.

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