Understanding the Differences Between Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization

There are definite “buzz” words in today’s business industry. Two of the top buzz terms are Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. What are they and how can they make your company more successful?

What Is SEM and SEO?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the broad term that describes all of the processes used to promote web sites. It is a form of online marketing that increases your web site’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEM includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising, and Content Advertising. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one tier under the broad umbrella of SEM. It is the process of increasing your web site’s organic (free) listing. SEO includes improving your web site’s usability and content, link building, social media, and more. The benefits are impressive: free listing; more web site traffic; increased sales and ROIs.

So What’s the Difference?

In today’s competitive business arena, if you have a web site, sell products and services, and striving to be successful, you will be engaging in online marketing, such as SEM. The question is which form of marketing under the broad spectrum of SEM is best for your company? Will PPC or SEO bring more success to your company? Let’s take a look at both of them.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising. When you choose PPC, you create your ad and choose keywords related to your business. When a consumer searches on Google, your ad appears above or to the right of the organic (free) listings.

The good news? You are advertising directly to a specific audience who is already interested in you, and you don’t pay to display your ad; you only pay when someone clicks on your link. Payment ranges from a few cents to several dollars per click. PPC can save your company money, and it can get a new site immediate exposure to potential customers.

The bad news? You only pay when someone clicks on your link. That means you are paying for those consumers clicking on your ad but discovering (for whatever reason) that they aren’t interested in your product; however, you are still paying for them to click on your site. PPC can be frustrating because you are paying for clicks but your sales may not be increasing due to the fact that genuine traffic is not being driven to your site. In fact, PPC ads miss the majority of potential consumers, because 95% of people click on the organic (free) link as opposed to a paid (PPC) link.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of getting your company’s web site at the top of the search engine results page. Because 95% of consumers never click to the second-page of results, it is imperative to achieve first-page placement in order to be successful. The process of SEO is accomplished through useful web site content, relevant key words, and utilized links. Click here to read more on Understanding SEO. The foremost benefit of SEO is a higher volume of traffic to your company’s web site, which results in more ROI.

SEO is where the future of online marketing lies. Most companies are using this online marketing tool and recognizing it as the only tool to achieve optimal, first-page placement on Google. In fact, 55% of marketers worldwide reported that they will be devoting more resources to SEO in the future.

Why the Need for a SEO Expert?

Can your company muddle through the process of SEO on its own? Perhaps, but not timely or effectively. Effective SEO should be maintained by a qualified expert who understands the algorithm that Google utilizes for placement on their SERP. Google assigns placement on the results page through an algorithm, which is tweaked more than hundreds of times throughout a year. If you don’t know the algorithm and aren’t aware of how Google constantly changes the algorithm, your web site will get lost in the hundreds of pages of search results. Most local businesses do not have the expertise or time to persistently manage their web site’s placement.

SEO Can Make a Difference for Your Company

If you’re speculating about employing an expert in SEO, the sooner you do it, the better. A superior SEO, such as Cactus Sky, can help improve and redesign an existing site or launch a brand-new site that is search engine-friendly from start to finish. Utilizing the key to online marketing—SEO—can be more web traffic, sales, and ROI for your company.

Do you know …

  • WHO is targeting your desired keywords?
  • HOW MANY companies are competing for the same consumers?
  • WHAT your competition is doing with their online marketing?
  • WHAT your company can do better and what opportunities on which you can capitalize?

A qualified team of experts from Cactus Sky can help your company discover these answers and be visible, relevant, and successful in today’s competitive business world with SEO.

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Peter "WebDoc" Martin
A digital marketing expert nationally recognized as the “webdoc,” and is the technology correspondent for ABC 7 News and SNN6 where he provides technology advice, website reviews and product news.
Peter "WebDoc" Martin

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here are definite “buzz” words in today’s business industry. Two of the top buzz terms are Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. What are they and how can they make your company more successful? What Is SEM and SEO? Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the broad term that describes all of the processes used to promote web sites. It is a form of online marketing that increases your web site’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEM includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising, and Content Advertising. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one tier under the broad…

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