SEO vs. SEM: Which One Should You Focus On01.6.2019.

SEO vs. SEM: Which One Should You Focus On


As a business owner trying to keep your company profitable in the competitive business world, and even making plans to climb high on the entrepreneurial ladder, you might find yourself dazed and confused by the sheer number of marketing options the digital world has to offer. From social media marketing to content creation, from SEO to SEM, the world of online marketing can be extremely difficult to navigate.

The two most powerful methods for spreading the word of your brand across the online universe are definitely, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). While both have their benefits, you still need to decide which to focus on. Every business has different needs, and what might work for someone else might spell disaster for your reputation in the digital realm. With that in mind, here’s how to decide between SEO and SEM. 

The benefits of SEO

Marketers use search engine optimization to, quite simply, optimize a website for better organic traffic. They achieve this with meticulous SEO keywords that boosts a website in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and ideally puts your website before every other in your niche. Unlike paid advertising, SEO works to improve your standing in the results page over time and attract relevant visitors to your website.

By tending to meticulous keyword optimization and SEO in general, you can boost your brand awareness, reinforce your brand in the competitive arena, improve your credibility with search engines, migrate page position to the first three pages in a Google Search, create a trustworthy relationship with your audience, and of course, improve traffic to your website. What’s more, SEO tends to yield a higher click-through rate than pay per click (PPC) simply because the majority of users tend to click on organic search results instead of sponsored ads. Ultimately, if SEO is for you, it will cost you less while providing a much higher return on investment (ROI) than SEM. 

The benefits of SEM

All of the benefits of SEO notwithstanding, SEM is also a powerful tool in a modern business’s arsenal, one that can bring you a better competitive advantage and provide you with a surge of new traffic in a very short timeframe. If nothing else, PPC advertising will propel your website to the top of the SERPs because you paid for it, effectively putting your name directly in front of your audience. 

The potential customer will have no way of missing your ad, so you have a better chance of making an impact at least, if not making a new sale. Another excellent benefit of SEM is that it gives you complete control, allowing you to optimize, tweak, and compose your ad for maximum engagement. 

You can also take advantage of Google’s Product Listing PPC Ads to showcase your products directly in the results page, thus increasing your chances of landing a quick sale. As you might have guessed, SEM is not exactly a long-term marketing strategy, but it can be a powerful growth tool in a highly competitive business category. PPC is at least five times more expensive than organic SEO maintenance. Your PPC Ad keywords are also subject to the same algorithms changes from the search engines, requiring remediation work on a continuum basis, thereby increasing the development costs associated with PPC.

Choosing your ideal fit

Now that you’re aware of the benefits of each of these marketing strategies, it’s time to choose the type that best suits your business and your long-term goals. That said, keep in mind that there are many other crucial digital marketing strategies you should look into and introduce into your overarching marketing approach – it will mean the difference between a quick buck and a successful future.

Concretely, it will always boil down to the type of business you’re running, and the goals you hope to achieve. For instance, if you’re running a consulting agency and are looking to acquire long-term clients and establish trusting relationships over time, then SEO is definitely the way to go.

On the other hand, if you’re running an eCommerce store or if you’re marketing in a highly competitive niche with high turnover rates, then PPC advertising should be your focus. This is why correlating your current business model with your objectives and long-term goals should be your no.1 priority, as it will allow you to determine the best road going forward. 

Getting the best of both worlds

Naturally, if you really want to dominate the search engine realm and win big at organic and paid traffic, then introducing both SEO and SEM into your growth strategy would be a wise and prudent decision. You can absolutely create excellent SEO and SEM strategies that will put your brand on the online map if you have the monetary resources needed to cover both fronts at the same time.

Focusing on both will allow one to compensate for the other’s shortcomings. To that end, you can effectuate both strategies to double your traffic by positioning your website at the top of every SERP. What’s more, you can also use the keywords from your PPC ads to optimize your website and retain long-term rankings for those keywords. Lastly, you can also use conversion data from your SEM campaign to improve your organic traffic and conversion.

A parting word or two

In a world where long-term business success rests in the hands of your digital marketing strategy, there is a need to implement either SEO or SEM into your growth plan in order to boost your presence in the online realm. You can use these tips to determine your ideal approach, or better yet, focus on combining the two for maximum effect.

Response offers a FREE consultation service to help you along your online journey. Contact Karen Watson at:, or mobile: 519 872-1751.