SEO or SEM – What is the Difference?
Advertising your business online can be difficult, especially if you are new to the concept and do not understand all the options available to you. Most people know that Google can help drive customers to their business, but they don’t know where to start. There is SEO and there is SEM – but what do they mean? Let’s explore what they are and how they are different.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process by which your business shows up ‘organically’ in Google searches. When people search online for something, Google shows them pages of results that best match their search. These results are ‘organic’, and have shown up because their websites have content matching the term that has been searched for. The aim of SEO is to show up as high as possible (on the first page is the goal). Think about it – how many times have you searched online and then gone to the second or third pages to find what you are looking for? I’m guessing it is not that many. Being on the front page is critical for success. There are many factors that impact a website’s ability to show up in search results, particularly on the first page. These things include how much traffic a site gets, how well content on the site matches the keywords used in the search, how many other sites it is linked to, and much more. It is free to show up in the organic search results on Google; people search and if your site fits the algorithm best it will show up. It is also free to optimize your website if you want to do it yourself. It can be done, but there is a lot to learn and can be a full-time job, particularly if you want to be on that first page in the next 12 months. It takes a long time to climb the SEO rank, particularly for new websites and experts agree, it can average 6 months before a business will begin to show no the first page.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing is still having your website show up in search results, but instead of it being organic it happens above the organic results as an “Ad”, and you pay for it. It is a form of pay as you go advertising, and can have instant results for your business. SEM works on the premise of you creating an advertisement, setting a daily budget and choosing a list of keywords that best suit your business. For example, if you are a hairdresser in Corpus Christi you might have keywords like hairdresser, hairdresser Corpus Christi, South Texas hairdresser, etc.; things relating to your business. When your ad is live, it will show up each time someone types those phrases into the Google search bar, and you pay only when they click on your ad. You can turn these ads on and off as you need, or as your budget changes.
What is the Difference Between the Two?
SEO is a long-term strategy, though when it is done it can bring you unlimited, free traffic. Best results are seen when you use an SEO expert, because there are so many things to learn about search engine optimization and it is constantly changing. SEM sees immediate results and the budget is controllable, though once you stop running the ads your presence online is gone. However, over time, the increased amount of traffic from SEM will help to build your reputation with Google, and therefore your SEO rankings. A combination of the two strategies might be best for your business, and YellowFin Digital, a digital marketing agency in South Texas, has all the information to help get you started on the right track. Contact us today to see how we can help you get to the first page of Google!
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