Search Engine Marketing (SEM) vs SEO

If you have never heard of these terms before or maybe don't know what they refer to, this small guide will help you understand what SEM and SEO offer to you and the benefits each can bring to helping your business generate traffic and sales.

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Search engine marketing or ppc advertising is the practice of paid search marketing a business utilizing paid adverts to appear on search engine results pages (or SERPs). The advertisers bid on keywords that users of search engines such as Google and Bing might enter when looking for certain products or services, which gives the advertiser the opportunity for their ads to appear in a certain part of the page alongside results for those search queries.

Ads in this context are known as pay-per-click (ppc) Ads, these ads and come in a variety of formats. A few of note are:

  • Text Ads
  • Responsive Text Ads

These Ads consist of the same 3 parts, the only difference is that a responsive text ad is generated on the fly for users by selecting from multiple titles and descriptions that have been submitted by the advertiser.
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  • Call Targeted Ads

Call Ads are great for driving customers to brick & mortar businesses by letting them instantly make contact with the business in 1 click to speak to someone who can help them. It is also a great option who businesses who offer custom services or products to customers.
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  • Shopping/Product Ads

Shopping ads are a great tool to provide traffic to ecommerce driven sites as a means of letting customers directly purchase the product of their choice after one simple search and are more visual to allow consumers to see important information at-a-glance, such as price and reviews.
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Search engine marketing's greatest strength is that it offers advertisers the opportunity to target their ads at interested customers who are ready to invest in a product or services at the precise moment they're ready to make a purchase. No other advertising medium can do this, which is why search engine marketing is so effective and such an amazingly powerful way to grow your business.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search engine optimization is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

What this means:
  • Quality of traffic. If you were able to attract as many visitors as possible, it wouldn't mean anything if they're coming to your site because Google tells them you're a resource for computer parts when really you're a photographer selling prints, that is not quality traffic. Instead of that you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in products that you offer.

  • Quantity of traffic. As soon as you have the right people clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs), you can then target more traffic.

  • Organic results. Ads take up a significant part of many SERPs. This is traffic that is not paid for.

This is done through auditing the site for issues and looking at ranking factors by slowly optimizing your web page, for example: changing title tags to better target your keyword and keeping it within the character limit for search engine result pages. Other ways include changing your internal links structure to give a better layout for Google crawlers to check through, there is also the option of starting you own blog and creating your own content to add more opportunity for Google to rank your pages.

Link Building is also considered a big part of SEO and is performed by reaching out to other sites to attempt to gain a page linked to your site, this lets Google know that you page is relevant for a particular topic and makes Google place a higher importance on your site. This is known as page authority, it is important to note that social media is not an option to boost your site as there is the "no follow" property for links that are used by social media and other sites to stop people from abusing this.


SEM versus SEO: What's the difference?

"search engine marketing" refers to paid search marketing, a system where businesses pay Google to show their ads in the search results.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is different as businesses aren't required to pay Google for traffic and clicks; rather, they earn a free spot in the search results by having the most relevant and high quality content for a given keyword search, this is built up overtime through thoroughly optimizing your site for SEO.

Both SEO and SEM should be fundamental parts of your online marketing strategy. SEO is a powerful way to drive evergreen traffic at the top of the funnel, while search engine advertisements are a highly cost-effective way to drive conversions at the bottom of the funnel.

Both strategies employ the use of keyword research although depending on the keywords the results can vary greatly per keyword and with SEO you do not get to chose the web page that is used for the keyword although it can be influenced, on the other hand with SEM and google ads you can choose the landing pages used for specific keywords.

Title tags used for both strategies can be custom although you can change the title of your page while creating a different title for the ad placed for the same page.

I hope this has given you a thorough insight in to the best way forward in growing your business!

SEOwned is a digital marketing agency providing SEO in Belfast that aims to provide you and your business the best results possible through digital strategies tailored for you.

Posted in Digital Marketing, Digital Strategy, Search Engine Marketing, SEO Belfast on Apr 28, 2020