People still mistake search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) for each other, though the two are very different despite their similar names. The easiest way to explain these two items is by defining what they do. Search Engine Optimization is focused on organic traffic, while Search Engine Marketing is really a fancy term for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. PPC advertising is where you pay for placement in the ads section of a search platform.
SEO has a number of advantages, including cost-effectiveness, reach long lasting benefits, and more. That long-term exposure is of crucial importance and SEO achieves that better than anything else. Unlike Pay-Per-Click advertising, you are not necessarily paying for placement on the search engines, you are paying to optimize your on-site and off-site attributes so Google and the major search engines view you as a trusted authority for the search. Think of SEO as a marathon, not a sprint. SEO is the gift that keeps giving. Once your website ranks in the top 1, 2, or 3 positions, you start to reap the benefits of your investment!
SEO can take some time to get results in terms of lead generation, but SEM can generate instant results for your website. This timeliness makes SEM particularly useful for small businesses, achieving nearly instant online exposure while enabling you to gain a much greater customer reach very quickly. The buyer is warned, this comes at a price.
Although SEM campaigns can be costly, they are also very scalable and you will be able to exact control to avoid overspending and make sure that the money you spend on a campaign will be spent in the areas you want it to be.
There are unique advantages to both SEO and SEM, there isn’t one that is necessarily better than another. As a part of a comprehensive marketing strategy, we recommend a combination of both. Statistically speaking, 70% (+/-) of search traffic will click on the organic results while 30% (+/-) will click on the paid advertising section so it is advantageous to invest in both to some degree.