SEM Vs. SEO: Which One Works Best For My Brand?
(Continuation)Both methods involve keyword research to determine the most lucrative search terms to target. Both SEM and SEO activities start with keyword research to unveil the best keywords in your industry or area of activity. This research studies and compares the keyword popularity, the monthly search volumes, and the commercial value of each search term.
The Differences Between SEM & SEO
SEM search placements are labeled as Ads, while SEO ones are not. The look of the two types of listings is different. Paid ads are identified as advertising by a small icon displayed next to them, whereas organic results aren’t labeled in any way.
SEM search results bear ad extensions while SEO search results can display as featured snippets. The appearance in search results is different. SEM listings may include phone numbers, additional links, and location extensions while SEO results may appear as featured snippets in search.
Each time a search user clicks on one of your ads, you have to pay. On the contrary, you don’t pay anything when search users click on organic results. This is why you need to have an ongoing budget to keep showing SEM ads and to use this method to generate leads.
SEM results show only to a target audience you select when you define your campaigns. SEO results show to anyone using those specific search terms. While both tactics focus on attracting targeted leads, you can only choose your target audience through SEM. Depending on the publisher, you may be able to filter your audience by age, gender, location, habits, income, and more.
SEM has an immediate impact while SEO takes a while to start showing results. In SEM, you start driving traffic to your website the very moment after you launch your campaigns. This makes it a great strategy for testing. You can easily change your ad copy, target a different audience, and perform other tweaks that can help you improve the ROI. Also, you’ll see the effects of your actions right away. On the contrary, SEO takes too much time to implement such changes and to monitor their effects in SERPs.
SEO provides excellent value over time, while SEM does not. SEM works only for as long as you keep pumping money into your campaigns. SEO is the exact opposite. A good SEO strategy grows and compounds with time, leaving long-term results that stick. SEO will keep bringing you leads even in the event of a cash flow problem. You can pause all marketing expenses for a while and still benefit from the results of your previous efforts. This is why you can’t afford to overlook SEO, even though it takes such a long time to pay off. If you were to rely solely on SEM to attract search traffic to your website, you can get in huge trouble in the event of a cash flow problem.
SEO can have a higher CTR than SEM, provided that you manage to bring your pages to the top of search engines. Statistics show that the top three organic search results have the highest CTR. As consequence, if you can reach the best organic spots, you’ll score much better ROI with SEO than with SEM. On the contrary, mediocre SEO results will probably get you fewer clicks than SEM.
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