SEO or SEM | Deciding Which is Better for Your Brand and Audience

Depending on the size and scope of your targeted audience of potential customers, you may decide that your brand website needs an additional digital marketing approach that utilises SEM as well as SEO. If you’re unfamiliar with what these new initials represent and what makes it different from SEO, you’re not alone.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a more targeted approach to reaching a specific audience through the use of pay-per-click ads (PPC) and other techniques that improve your site’s visibility.

The practice is an offshoot of SEO that improves a website’s performance toward a specific goal by using the paid ad platforms of Google and other search engines. It’s not a replacement for SEO; it’s an enhancement that may or may not benefit your website in a particular industry or a particular situation.

Getting the Word Out

If your brand is in an industry that has a lot of online competition, you’re consistently slipping in the page rankings, and your SEO agency is working overtime, you may benefit from SEM. If your company is targeting a specific audience or focusing on a geographical area to concentrate your marketing efforts, this is another area where this enhanced version of SEO may help your company. It can effectively raise your click-through and conversion rates, as well as your overall visibility within your target markets.

The practice helps get the word out about your brand more effectively in certain industries than even the best SEO practices can. The fact that you have to pay for the most effective use of search engine marketing provides a hint to the value that digital marketers place on the practice.

Paying for Results

Search engines long ago realised the value of offering advertising but wanted to offer as level a playing field as they could. They know that keywords have all ranges of value. Certain keywords in an industry are much more valuable than others. Search engines, like Google, developed a keyword-bidding business model where the more valuable the keyword and the more times you wanted to use it in a series of ads, the more you paid for the privilege.

The cost structure works both as a deterrent to non-serious competitors and an effective generator of revenue for companies that are willing and able to absorb the significant costs in their acquisition budgets.

This business model became known as PPC, and it’s the backbone of SEM. While the practice utilises the same techniques in optimising a website that SEO does, the reliance on the use of PPC as a significant facet of the practice makes it as effective as it is.

 All-inclusive Compared to SEO

The practice is beginning to be considered as sort of an all-inclusive version of SEO. Where SEO attempts to achieve its results by the use of techniques that are free to use, SEM uses the entire range of options to increase a website’s visibility, both free and paid.

There are a lot of factors to consider in deciding whether this approach is right for your brand in your current market. Sure, it adds a lot of benefits, but those benefits come at a cost that may be not worth it for your current market.


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