SEO vs SEM: How to Leverage Them for Maximum Online Visibility? SEO: Search engine optimization and search engine marketing are not just about getting your website to show up on search engines. They are also about credibility, user experience, and ultimately conversion.
They are about making sure that when a potential customer searches for something related to your product or service you offer, it’s your website that they click on. It’s your website that they spend time on, and it’s your website that they purchase from.
So if you are a business owner, a product owner, a service-based business, or a website trying to improve your customer acquisition rate, let’s see how you can leverage SEO and SEM for Online Visibility? to get the results. According to the research of 6sense.com article “Companies using SEO And SEM technology software are majorly from the United States with 79,750 (58.19%), United Kingdom with 14,144 (10.32%), India with 9,858 (7.19%) customers respectively.
They further said: “Top industries that use SEO And SEM for Professional Services (57,575), Technology (29,309), Retail and CPG (15,384).”
SEO: Search Engine Optimization and SEM: Search Engine Marketing are digital marketing techniques for Maximum Online Visibility of your products or services how do SEM and SEO help to increase your website traffic?
SEO And SEM for Online Visibility
Now, I’m pretty sure in this day and age, you should know what SEO and SEM are. SEO is An approach that uses organic methods to appear in search results. SEM Is An approach that uses paid methods to appear in search results. I don’t wish to bore you with the details, but just in case you don’t know what they are, let’s say that we search for “Scooters for the elderly” on Google, and we see these sponsored ads at the top.
These are called shopping ads, and they are one part of search engine marketing. You have to pay money to Google to be able to display your products here. The same goes for the below websites. These are sponsored ads as well. And if you scroll below, you will see organic search results like these and others.
On a typical search results page, the top of the page usually consists of two to four search ads, shopping ads, or a combination of both.
Below that, there will usually be 10 organic search results. These are pages that focus on optimizing for SEO. Following that, another ad, then related searches.
So SEM will take up a huge space in the search results before organic search results are shown. And if I search for “Cheap dedicated server”, I will see ads right at the top.
Depending on the competition, getting the top position for certain keywords could cost quite a huge amount of money. In this instance, using Google Ads Keyword Planner, it is saying that it could typically cost between $5.77 to $18.99 to get your ads displayed on the search term.
Top positions, as you see above, could cost in the high range, and for ads down below, sometimes at position 11th and below, could cost below the low range. Google, Bing, and other search engines are businesses, and for them to profit and grow, they need to earn money by collecting advertising fees from businesses that want to display their products or services on their search engines.
Hence, be it in the current or the new search environment, prominent places, for example, the top of the search results, are reserved for sponsored ads. But there are billions of searches every day, and not all search terms will render ads. As you can see here, all these keywords have little to no commercial value, which means no immediate buying intent.
For example, people searching for technical SEO for beginners, may not be ready to buy a course yet. So people searching for these keywords have the intention of getting more information or learning something first. Businesses tend to focus on paying for keywords where they know people are ready to buy products or services.
If you know the concept called the “Customer journey”, you know a customer will go through different stages as a customer, from someone who didn’t know that your product existed, to find out about your product, to eventually buying it.
If you are only focused on search engine marketing, you will only be targeting the group of people who are considering buying a product, but you neglect the group of people who may transit into the consideration stage. But if you are working on SEO for your site, you can target different groups of people.
So does it mean that every business owner should do SEO? In our humble opinion, yes, but you’ve got to understand the good, the bad, and the ugly of both marketing techniques.
Time to See Results: SEO vs SEM the key differences
Now, assuming you are a small business owner trying to start a new barbecue grill brand, let’s call it “Grillman”. If you are solely focused on SEO, what is the best keyword to rank for when it comes to getting your barbecue grill known? I would say “best barbecue grills”. But just do a Google search and you will find sites like Good Housekeeping, New York Times, New York Magazine, Food & Wine, and they are all well-known sites.
If you visit them, you will know they have thousands of articles and contents and it will seem almost impossible to compete in terms of SEO. However, if you instead focus on search engine marketing, you create a piece of content that is relevant to the same search term and you pay Google, let’s say between S$0.41 to S$2.34 which is around US$0.25 to US$1.80, your content could shoot up to the top of the search results for this keyword.
So in terms of the differences between the time to see results, SEM will be much faster than SEO. With SEO, it will probably take 6 to 12 months and the growth is slow at the start. But if done right, the result may be exponential over the second or third year onwards. So SEO is a long-term strategy.
So should you give up on SEO for that keyword? I would say no, because who knows? You might be able to rank at the top for that keyword months or years down the road. But you should use SEM to get quicker results and get your brand out there.
Keyword Research: SEO vs SEM the key differences
Now, you would do keyword research for both SEO and SEM, but the key difference is the focus. With SEO, you would try to find keywords that have a search volume of above 100, which means at least 100 people are searching for that keyword every month.
But you will also want to make sure that the keyword has low competition, especially when your site is new. We are using the free Ahrefs Keyword Generator to do Keyword Research, by the way, you can use it.
And this KD here means Keyword Difficulty. Anything above 40 is considered competitive. So in this example, for a new site, we will not target the best barbecue grills for the moment because it is competitive. Instead, we’ll be focusing on keywords like “best grill brush” because it has a search volume of above 100 and below 40 keyword difficulty.
This would give your site a higher chance of getting ranked on search engines. And as your site grows, you can target more competitive keywords. There are more ways of doing keyword research for SEO, and we have covered them in this blog article right here.
Now, if you are doing keyword research for SEM, the focus will be shifted. You will no longer worry about keyword difficulty, but instead, you will focus on the cost of the keyword. You want to know if the keyword suits your budget. These are the costs you will pay Google for every click you get that I mentioned in the above image.
Maximum Cost Per Click
So depending on the amount you will make from selling one product, let’s say that for every 10 people who visit your page, one will buy your product. So in this sense, the maximum amount of cost per click you will pay to break even will be $10 because you will need to pay $100 in advertising fees to get 10 people to visit your website.
And out of the 10 people, one will buy your product. So your profit will be $100 from the product sales less the $100 you pay in advertising fee. You just broke even. And to make a profit out of SEM, your maximum cost per click bid needs to be lower than $10.
That’s how you should look at budgeting for ads, but the conversion rate, like out of 10, one will buy, will depend on your ads testing before you scale. What scale means is out of all the ads testing, you found a campaign that is profitable and you spent an exorbitant amount of money on the ad campaign.
So if you want to do SEM, you have to keep a budget for testing ads. And for SEM, you will also look at the average monthly searches. The hundred average searches per month you see on SEO is too low for SEM. You should be looking at keywords that have at least 1,000 average searches per month.
Content Creation for SEO
To get organic search traffic, you need two types of SEO, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. With on-page SEO, once you have determined the target keyword through keyword research.
If you are using Rank Math, you would add the keyword in the focus Page Optimization for SEO keyword field, and you will optimize your entire article using their 21 SEO checks here, like having the focus keyword in the SEO title, which you can do so by clicking on “Edit snippet” and the “Title” here.
And since this %title% variable is drawing information from your page title, all you need to do is to add the focus keyword in the page title and you will pass the check. You would need to have your focus keyword in your SEO meta description as well, which is in the “Edit snippet” and the “Description”. This extra variable takes information from multiple places.
So let’s say that you write your article normally, which includes the focus keyword, you would have passed the test as well. Basically, you want your article to be well-optimized for SEO. You just need to pass most of these checks here and have your SEO score above 80.
If you want to learn how to optimize your page to get a 100 SEO score, you can check out this blog article right here. And if you want to further optimize your content, you can rely on Rankmath content AI. Have your focus keyword here, and choose the location you want your article to rank. I’ll leave it as “Worldwide”.
Hit Research and Content AI will browse the web to provide you with smart suggestions like the word count range for this keyword, and how many internal and external links the page should have.
then the heading counts for each title tag, the number of images and videos the content should have, the keywords that should be included in the content, and its frequency, the keywords that should be in the headings, SEO title, SEO description, the questions you should answer in your content.
If you want to add an FAQ schema to your page using these questions, you can click on the click on this button to copy these questions and paste them into the content. And this whole block here will have the FAQ schema added.
Then if you want to link to credible external sources on your page, Rankmath has done the research for you.
These are credible sources. Linking to questionable sources will have a negative impact on your SEO. Now, one thing to be clear, it doesn’t mean that a page with a high SEO score will guarantee you a spot on the search engines.
How well your content ranks would depend on how helpful it is for the people searching for stuff on Google, Bing, and other search engines. So you should focus on writing helpful content for your audience and then work on optimizing for our SEO checks, not the other way around.
Then for off-page SEO, you’ll try to reach out to other credible sites in your direct and indirect niches and have them link back to your site. Getting links from external sources is like social proof that other sites view your site as a credible source and hence improve your overall SEO.
We have a blog article on link building as well to help you work on off-page SEO. I have described in depth SEO Link Building 2023 and How to Get Powerful Links.
Content Creation for SEM
Now, as for SEM, you will also be creating content, but instead of focusing on writing the most helpful content out there, you’ll be focused on positioning your products or services to earn a sale. The tools you would use will be different from SEO as well. You will use a tool like Google Ads Transparency Center to spy on your competitor ads.
Let’s say that you are a web hosting company and you want to figure out the ads BlueHost has done, you would search for BlueHost, and these are all the ad copies that have shown on related searches in Singapore.
You can view the active ads in the last 30 days and compare the ads with maybe the last 60 days and the ads that appear on both time frames will give you an idea of what is working for your competitors. Now, let’s check out a real-life example of the type of content you should create. You see, I’ve searched for Monday, hoping to find Monday.com, and I saw a couple of ads.
These ads here are trying to get Monday.com users to sign up for their service instead. So if you were to bid for the keyword “Monday”, what type of content would you create? Leave a comment down below and let us know your answer.
But for now, let’s check out what ClickUp did. As you visit the page, scroll below and you will see a comparison between Monday.Com and ClickUp. It implies that Monday.com is paid, while ClickUp is free. And ClickUp gives you a lot more than Monday.com, even though it is free.
So it makes it more enticing for Monday.com users or anyone researching Monday.com to sign up for ClickUp instead. Does this ad copy work? Only ClickUp knows. But at the end of the day, regardless of which option you choose here, the ad copy that makes the most money wins. That’s the different focus when it comes to content creation between SEO And SEM for Online Visibility.
Overall SEO vs SEM Comparison
We have already talked about the key differences between both for the time to see results, keyword research, and content creation, so we will not be talking about them any longer. We will be focusing on the risk. If you don’t make money from either of these campaigns, what do you lose?
For SEO, if you have hired an agency, freelance writers, etc, you’ll be losing money if your SEO campaign flops. But if you are a one-man show, you have started the website and blog on your own, and you have spent a lot of time and effort on it if there are no results, you will be losing time and effort and possibly opportunity cost as you could have spent your time on something more profitable.
In terms of SEM, you will lose money and some time and effort in creating and managing those campaigns. However, the time and effort are minimal as compared to SEO. In terms of sustainability, because SEO is a long-term strategy, and if it becomes successful, in the long run, you can benefit from the free influx of traffic, prospects, and leads, even if you do not put in as much effort as you did when you first started.
However, for SEM, your traffic, prospects, and leads will be reliant on the amount you spend on bidding for ads. If you stop paying for ads, you will lose the traffic source altogether.
At the end of the day, whether it be SEO or SEM, they are one part of a complete marketing strategy. If you are doing SEM, you can not only rely on SEM. You also need to place ads on other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or whatever to create brand awareness. You can use SEM together with its remarketing campaigns to enhance the effectiveness of your overall marketing strategy.
So if you truly want to grow your business, you need to formulate an overall marketing strategy that includes SEO, SEM, and other strategies. I hope this blog post has helped you decide to work on both SEO And SEM for Online Visibility simultaneously, and I’ll be super grateful if you can read our more blog articles related to this If you have any questions, leave them in the comments.
What is main the difference between SEO and SEM?
The primary difference between SEO and SEM is that SEO called Search Engine Optimization is concentrated on optimizing a website pages to get potential organic traffic from organic search results. Whereas, the purpose and main objective of SEM called Search Engine Marketing is to attract more organic traffic and visibility from both organic and paid search.
How many categories Google’s search results are divided?
Google’s search results work when a long process is done properly. In Google’s search results, the appeared result is based and divided into two categories: paid search results and organic search results. People optimize their websites, online stores, and web pages to rank websites in the organic search results and increase revenue. The paid search results are called the paid area of the search results via (PPC) pay-per-click that also comes in SEM.
What is PPC in (SEM) Search Engine Marketing?
PPC means pay-per-click is an arrangement and a way of paid advertising in Search Engine Marketing where you have to pay for clicks to your website from famous platforms like Google and Microsoft.
How much time does SEM take to get results?
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) sometimes can be fast or sometimes can be slow to get results because of the use of (SEO) Search Engine Optimization or (PPC) pay-per-click. If a website owner only optimizes their website for search engines then the SEM may take more time but if a website owner does PPC then Google will start showing your ad to searchers right away instantly. In a few minutes, the website gets more traffic by investing in PPC.
Does SEO take more time to deliver results than SEM?
Yes, as compared to SEM SEO takes more time to deliver results. An SEO-optimized website takes an estimated 6 to 12 months to rank the first page of Google SERPs and get potential traffic whereas an SEM campaign or PPC has the potential to increase an organization’s website traffic instantly in a few hours and show instant results without waiting for months.
Which is best for marketers SEO or SEM?
To get a brand-successful organization website you must follow both SEO and SEM because both techniques help marketers for a website to get a ranking instantly and increase revenue. Without performing an SEO strategy on WEP pages marketers could not create compelling landing pages for their SEM campaigns to generate traffic as well as increase organic backlinks to organizations’ websites.