Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), are two concepts that throw people into confusion, however, this needn’t be so. While both of them are sometimes erroneously used interchangeably, there is a wide gulf between them.
Organic SEO is undoubtedly the best marketing strategy for long-lasting results, if you actually want to work towards your website ranking high in organic results for your targeted keywords as well as getting free traffic, having industry recognition, and enjoying all the benefits of SEO, you don’t use PPC.
It may be true that with PPC you can still get targeted traffic from search engines, what you have to consider are:
Will that be long-lasting? And, will you have to pay through your nose?
PPC comes with heavy costs. You must pay for the “perceived ranking” and once the amount you have deposited runs out, the traffic disappears.
Another thing you need to take into cognizance is that costs can quickly add up. If you fail to constantly monitor and optimize your campaigns to make sure you get a return on investment, the money you have invested could be wasted.
You must allocate budget for PPC campaigns which is quite unlike SEO tactics where you only need to invest time and skills.
The basic truth is that SEO is a part of SEM. SEM is actually a form of internet marketing that ensures your site’s visibility increases through organic search engine results, which is fundamentally SEO, and advertising, which in most cases is pay-per-click (PPC).
The fact that SEM is wrongly centered on PPC campaigns and activities by most operators has led a lot of people to, unfortunately, label the two as one and the same thing.
What do you gain from SEM?
With SEO, you are bound to enhance the optimization of your website in order to attain a greater chance of appearing higher in search results, on the other hand, with online advertising, it’s possible for you to send promotional content to your target audience.
SEM is able to combine both advantages, in other words, your content is both optimized for higher search rankings and is situated strategically and principally in front of your potential target audiences who will most likely be converted into loyal customers and brand ambassadors when they click on your ads.
Why SEM is not all about PPC
The truth is that the majority of operators tend to focus purely on PPC but SEM is more than that. PPC is definitely a major aspect of SEM and refers to pay-per-click (PPC) ads specifically, both are outrightly not the same.
The overriding difference is that SEM has a broader outlook. It’s a combination of paid search or PPC and SEO tactics.
If you, therefore, set up only a PPC advertisement as a way of generating traffic and boosting your ranking while you don’t take the necessary steps to optimize the ad or the website it links to, it’s a pure example of paid search. On the other hand, if you, however, make concerted efforts to optimize your site and your search content with solid keywords, there is nothing bad about putting money behind it to boost it on targeted audience’s search pages, this way you are not just practicing PPC but SEM.
This clearly indicates that aside SEO, SEM also includes the use of paid search, such as pay per click (PPC) listings and advertisements. The unfortunate thing about it is that most operators don’t focus on the SEO aspect of SEM which ordinarily should be more important, they tend to strictly restrict their efforts to primarily PPC campaigns and activities, if you combine SEO and paid search, you have successfully brought in SEM efforts, hence, any traffic generated by this effort and ultimately, the ranking will be long-lasting.
SEO as part of SEM
SEO is fundamentally a component of the larger SEM picture. Google’s Knowledge Graph, reveals that SEO is the process through which you can naturally bring about an increase in the number of visitors to your website by making sure that the site scores high on the list of outcomes returned by a search engine.
The SEO industry has never been static, there have always been renewed activities as a result of the frequent changes made to Google’s algorithm. However, the fact that On-page and Off-page activities which are the two main aspects of SEO remain constant cannot be overemphasized.
What are the desirabilities of SEO?
Discerning keywords such as title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags as well as alt text are naturally integrated into SEO, hence correctly positioning your site to search engines. You also have the opportunity of qualitatively writing and optimizing your blog posts and page copy.
Some components of on-page SEO that places it well beyond the reach of PPC in your quest for organic ranking are:
- Clean and formatting page URLs
- Optimization of page load speed
- Google authorship incorporated
- Social sharing integration within your content
On the other hand, some of those for off-page SEO include:
- Creating a high quality, natural backlink profile that affords you the opportunity to have other high qualities/authoritative sites link to your site without paying for it (organically).
- Social sharing signals
- Social bookmarking (Stumbleupon, Reddit)
While we may not outrightly condemn everything about PPC, it’s glaring that the way a lot of marketers go about it is wholly wrong. It can’t boost your organic SEO unless it’s co-joined with SEO as part of SEM.
What you should seek out to have is earned publicity (SEO) rather than purchased publicity with PPC. You may be tempted by the immediate visibility that comes with PPC especially if you are launching a site at the initial time, it may seem a good idea as you don’t need to invest so much time.
Have you, however, thought of its sustainability? Organic SEO by all standards takes longer to show results, in the end, however, it will be less costly, long-lasting, and you will establish a search credibility that you won’t get with PPC.