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SEO vs SEM: What’s the Difference and Which Should You Focus On?

Whether you’re an online business or a local business, you have an audience that is looking for you online. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can help your audience find you more easily. For example, the search engines drive traffic to your site. Online ads target a specific audience. But what’s better to focus on: SEO or SEM?

Let’s learn more about SEO and SEM, the differences between the two and which one you should be focusing on.

What is SEO? What are the Benefits? 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a method used to optimize a website so that it gets organic visitors from the search engine results pages. Although this traffic isn’t paid, it usually costs money to set up an SEO strategy. 

Below are the key benefits to SEO: 

  • Increased brand awareness 
  • Stronger branding
  • More trust and credibility
  • More traffic 
  • Lower costs over time 
  • Higher return on investment 
  • Higher sustainability 
  • Competitive advantage 

What is SEM? What are the Benefits? 

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a way to funnel relevant traffic from the search engines to your website by buying paid or sponsored ad listings. It’s the same as PPC. While there are many PPC platforms to use, the most popular is Google Adwords. To get the best return on SEM, you must have a strong strategy. 

Here are the benefits of SEM: 

  • Reach the top of the search engine results pages
  • Have more control over the audiences you target
  • Showcase your products 
  • Increase brand visibility
  • Control your budget
  • Achieve quick, measurable results 
  • Get real-time feedback 
  • Split test for better ROI 

SEO vs SEM: Which Should You Choose? 

Your business has a unique audience so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. You may be able to reach your audience with SEO, SEM or a combination of both. 

For some businesses, PPC is out of the question because of its costs. If this is the case for you, it’s probably best to focus on a robust SEO strategy. This is a great option if you’re not in a hurry to generate business and are instead looking to build a sustainable online presence. 

On the other hand, if you are looking to compete with other businesses and attract immediate traffic, you’ll want to use SEM. And, if you want to create a long-term presence while generating quick returns, a combination of SEO and SEM is best. 

To discuss SEO and SEM and how they can work for your business, contact GO Digital WSI today.