When you decided to enter the world of Digital Marketing, I bet you have heard the terms SEO and SEM. You may wonder what the differences between these 2. Aren’t they just the same?
We can’t deny the fact that it can be confusing for non-marketers to differentiate Search Engine Optimization from Search Engine Marketing. They may search the meaning of the acronyms online but without further explanation, this can be rather challenging to understand.
The purpose of this article is to give you an idea about SEO and SEM, how they differ and how can they be great partners in the world of marketing. So sit up straight and get ready to start your Digital Marketing journey with SEO and SEM.
SEO And Its Functions
Every digital marketer should know SEO. It is an essential knowledge one must have in order to survive and succeed in marketing online.
A deep understanding of SEO and its functions, coupled with an effective implementation will definitely help your business get a higher market share in the digital world. With a high market share, you are exposed to higher chances of influencing the consumers and motivate them to know more about your products or services.
When you decide to bring your business online, it is important to know which platform internet users hang out. It will help your determine where you should showcase your products and services. In terms of search engines, Google takes the number one spot with 79% of search market share. Other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo!, Baidu and others share the remaining 21% of the fraction. This concludes that Google is the go-to resource for best practices in terms of SEO strategy.
If you have sufficient understanding and knowledge about SEO, it will be easier for you to show up on the first page of Google (#1 in net market share) and you’ll be able to know which platform should your business dwell and invest more to create brand awareness.
As defined by Wikipedia, Search Engine Optimization is the process of growing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. So, the question is, how can you increase the visibility of your website to internet users who are searching through Google?
Typical search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo utilize a type of bot, known as the ‘web crawlers/spiders’ to crawl through your web pages, extract the links and index your web contents so that these contents can appear in the search engine results.
Ensure that your webpage meets the following criteria in order to be indexed better by these web crawlers:
- Valuable Content: Write content that provides value and uses the most frequently searched keywords. Web crawlers are more likely visit your page if you use keywords that are relevant to a wide variety of search queries. Make sure that the title tag and Meta description of your content is legitimate to increase credibility.
- Excellent User Interface: Most internet users are impatient and demanding. In order for you to make it to the top, and be frequently visited, make sure that your web pages are designed according to your web page’s goal and your customer’s needs. The usefulness of your web page is far more important than its aesthetic design. Users will quickly leave your site if your web page does not give them the information they want for the purpose of their visit.
- Linking Patterns: Showcase your own website by internal linking from one of your blogs to another. Backlinking your content to another authority website to drive traffic and increase credibility. Check for dead links, there should be no 404 error anywhere in your website.
There are a lot of SEO strategies, SEO tutorials and guides you can find online. It is within your reach, 24/7. Knowing all of these strategies and choosing which works best for you is something you must consider. Don’t get overwhelmed by the numerous options available for you out there. Stay focused.
Mastering SEO doesn’t happen overnight. You may hire an SEO agency in Singapore to do the work for you and use your time to what matters to you the most. However, understanding what SEO is and its functions will definitely benefit you when running your business online.
SEM And Its Functions
The practice of marketing your business through the use of paid advertisements so that it would appear on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) is what Search Engine Marketing is all about. Nowadays most businesses incorporate Search Engine Marketing as part of their digital marketing strategy. In essence, SEM is an online version of a typical printed advertisement, and the advertising fee is paid to search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Baidu to showcase your business ads to searchers who are looking for a products or services.
Here are some examples of SEM-based advertising activities:
- Paid ads campaigns
- Engage in effective copy writing
- Budget allotment for paid advertisements
- Apply key performance indicator analysis or insights using click-through-rates (CTR) and cost-per-click (CPC) towards future advertising activities
Don’t fall under the wrong impression that the higher spending limit for an ad, the better chance of being shown on SERPs. It is still a priority to make sure that your ads do have the relevant keywords to have a better SEM quality score on top of funding your advertisements as much as you can in order to get a good Ad ranking.
If you are still learning the ropes of SEM, you may want to hire an SEM specialist to help you get a good SEM quality score and win the ad auction to get a good ad rank.
How Is SEO Different From SEM?
SEO and SEM are two different digital marketing strategies. Although they both help you drive traffic and generate leads potential as sales, there are several differences between SEO and SEM.
The main difference is unlike SEM where you have to invest and fund your advertisements, SEO is totally free. Both drives traffic to your web page and open a door of opportunity for potential conversion but SEO is all about organic search traffic whereas SEM is paid traffic. These two should be part of your fundamental marketing strategy to drive traffic and sales conversion.
SEO And SEM Makes A Great Match
One common thing between SEO and SEM is the use of relevant keywords. While SEO magnets potential customers at the top of the funnel through organic traffic, SEM on the other hand, is a cost-effective way of converting leads to sales by triggering highly motivated users through paid advertisement.
Buyers are no longer in the street finding for the right product for themselves, instead, they are online shopping for things they need. Having an effective SEO will magnet these customers to your webpage and will give your business an opportunity to showcase what you offer as soon as they visit your website. Being on top of the SERPs is a big factor to get these potential customers to go to your site and make a purchase afterwards.
A well-planned SEM is your secret sauce to get higher Quality Score, get a better ad rank and increase your potential to convert your customers as buyers.
Since it will not take overnight to make it to the top of the SERPs, it is advisable for a startup business to invest to paid advertisements first while establishing its website’s organic traffic.
The Future Of SEO And SEM
SEO and SEM will continue to shift as major search engines are continually changing their parameters for rankings. For this reason, it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen but here are some tips if you want to stay in the competition.
- Google will continue to favors websites that has a good User Interface. Ensure to maintain your website’s efficiency and functionality. Keep your content up-to-date and eliminate dead links.
- More people are using smartphones. Internet users are accessing the web not from their desktop but from their mobile phones. Aside from convenience, most applications are now being developed and are compatible to smart phones. Make sure that you make your web pages mobile friendly so your business won’t be left behind.
- Take advantage of AI in SEO. AI can analyze your customer’s most searched keywords and the potential product they are looking for. With AI, data collection and analysis will become more helpful in planning your business.
Knowing the basics of SEO and SEM – what it is, its functions and effectiveness – is something a business owner should know. Although it is not expected for a business owner to do these themselves, simply understanding them and knowing the ‘why’ behind is a good place to start in planning your business’ next move.