As people are getting exposed to the internet, their exposure to search engines like Google is increasing exponentially. Each day more and more users are searching for your business online. And if you don’t have a strong presence on these search engines, you are likely to lose a lot of business. When it comes to making a strong brand recognition online, SEO and SEM are 2 powerful tools which help in doing the former. But the biggest dilemma is to use which of the two. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website to get free and regular traffic on your website. SEM or Search Engine Marketing is also called Pay-Per-Click or Sponsored Ads. Let’s get into detail to differentiate the two:-
SEO (Search Engines Optimization)
As described earlier, SEO is the process of generating traffic on your website. But how can traffic generation help in the business expansion?
1) SEO helps in increasing brand recognition and brand recall. A website which ranks amongst the top websites on search engines is more trustworthy and people can easily recall it.
2) It helps in increasing traffic which in return increases sales or revenue. More the traffic on your website, more are the chances for you to sell your services or products.
3) The traffic retention increases with SEO as this traffic is organic and if the service or product is good, it can lead to repeat transactions and repeat customers.
4) Brand value increases if you are amongst the top searches. People generally purchase from the top searches, so it’s vital to stay at the top.
5) If you reach a good position on search engines, you can’t fall back because the whole process is organic. And after some time, even a little SEO activity can provide with amazing results.
These are some of the benefits of SEO. It also has a few drawbacks:-
1) SEO is a time taking process. To reach a good standing on search engines, it might take a couple of months depending on the competition within your sector of business.
2) Getting the ROI with SEO is also a long process because it might take a few months to reach a good standing on the search engines.
3) If you always want to stay at the top, it requires a lot of investment.
4) Even after you have invested in it, there is no assurance that it will work for sure. But if done right, SEO can be the Ace for your business.
Let’s come to SEM now. SEM has the following advantages:-
1) As it is a paid form of advertisement, the results are immediate and always on point. With SEM you can’t miss your audience. They will always see your brand and recognition will increase drastically.
2) SEM is easy to implement and quick to run. It is highly flexible and configurable and can be set up in a few hours.
3) The results obtained can be measured exactly and can be quantified with the input. Tracking the audience and managing brand is very easy and convenient for SEM.
4) Brand awareness can be increased dramatically with SEM and can be done overnight. The traffic generated is always qualified.
It might be a great tool but it also has some advantages:-
1) There are a lot of settings, targeting and optimization strategies which can be used for profitable campaigns. Organizing and strategizing these can take a lot of time and expertise.
2) Increased competition in the market has driven costs up. The higher competition also means that companies with big budgets and manpower have the dominant positions.
Taking the advantages and disadvantages of both SEO and SEM, we would suggest using both because SEM might give you instant results but SEO can give you long-term results. If you want to stay in the market for a long, long time, maintaining a good rank on search engines and paid advertisements both are important. If you are spending heavily on just one of these 2 techniques, maybe you need to change your marketing strategy. Invest moderately on both and you will see the difference in no time.