When developing your digital marketing strategy, you may have wondered whether you should use SEO or SEM and which one is a better fit for your campaign. To answer these questions, you’ll first have to understand the differences between these related, but different, strategies.
SEO is short for “search engine optimization.” Its purpose is to promote your organic ranking and organic traffic from search engines through tweaking various aspects of a website. Organic search results appear on the search page of Google right under the paid search listings.
Because organic search engine rankings don’t require you to spend advertising money on a per-click or per-impression basis, high-ranking results allow you to generate a tremendous amount of search traffic at no cost. However, Google is assessing websites’ quality more strictly than ever before, which means that you might have to spend months or years before you’re able to achieve high rankings in the search results.
SEM refers to “search engine marketing,” which covers all kinds of paid promotion on search engines. This promotion can come in the form of search, multimedia, video, and even mobile app ads. SEM is usually charged on a per-click basis, and once the ad budget is exhausted, your ad will be pulled down automatically.
For SEM, you don’t need to wait for indexation or moving up in the rankings for traffic to get traffic. Once your ad is placed through Google, it will be shown on the search results page as long as you continue to pay for it.
Combining both SEO and SEM could be your ideal solution, so let’s see how you can formulate a suitable strategy and integrate the two for superior results.
Which one should I choose? SEO or SEM?
Now that you know the differences, you’ll have to consider your business development and sales strategies.
If you are looking to:
- Achieve a decent amount of traffic within a short period of time
- Promote seasonal goods and services
- Pursue a remarketing strategy,
SEM is the method for you.
On the other hand, if you are hoping to:
- Develop long-term and stable inbound traffic
- Increase brand awareness
- Enhance customer loyalty
- Become a thought leader in your industry,
Don’t overlook the importance of SEO.
If conditions allow, you should pursue both SEO and SEM at the same time, taking advantage of both methods. If not, consider the key points above and see which one suits you better.
There are so many SEO guides out there. Which one should I learn from?
Once you’ve come up with your marketing strategy, it’s time to get the ball rolling! It’s never straightforward in becoming a marketing specialist, as the market is evolving every day. Be ready to catch up with the latest trends through learning and to accumulate experience through practice.
Take SEO as an example. Google updates their search algorithm two to three times a day, and a major update comes every quarter. A flexible and varied strategy is crucial to your success, and you can only achieve that by closely following the latest developments in the industry.
Here are some quick tips for learning about SEO:
- Read extensively and thoroughly, especially from authoritative sources
- Take reference from multiple platforms when in doubt
- Follow the official developers section of Google Search
- Read various case studies to learn from others’ experience
- Try, try, try, and optimize
How to start an SEO campaign?
SEO can be further classified into technical SEO and non-technical SEO, on-site optimization and off-site optimization.
Once you are ready to start an SEO campaign, you should first determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) of your campaign. In general, technical SEO involves on-site optimizations that eliminating the technical problems on your website.
Before starting, you should prepare a checklist for diagnosis. After that, audit your site carefully and solve the problems identified. You may then move on from technical SEO to non-technical SEO.
Non-technical SEO mainly deals with your website’s content. To optimize a website’s content, consider beginning with the identification of pages that customers value the most and those pages that deliver on your brand value or product value the best.
Subsequently, conduct keyword research on those pages to find out the keywords your customers use to find the products and services you offer. Classify the keywords you targeted into various keyword groups and distribute them onto different pages. Last but not least, remember to ensure that each page contains those targeted keywords!
Any SEO tools recommendation?
We’ve covered several tasks that are involved in an SEO campaign. There are tools that could come in handy for each of these functions. Here are some of our picks:
Website health monitoring
SEO Technical Audit