The terms SEO SEM can be confusing digital marketing terms for new users that are trying to get their websites to give a better Return On Investment (RIO). Most marketers use the titles interchangeably, making it harder for newbies to grasp the marketing concepts.
Defining SEO and SEM
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, optimization is the act of making something as good or as efficient as possible. When it comes to the World Wide Web, optimizing your website means doing everything possible to it appear at the top of search results of any search engine. Examples of search engines are Google, Yahoo or Bing.
For instance, if you sell gym equipment and you have a business website to showcase your products, you may need to apply some SEO tactics for better Return On Investment(ROI). Every business owner wants to get profit, and as you may know, it comes from the amount of money a business makes after deducting all the costs of running a business.
Having a website or blog is a cost in itself; hence you want to make sure that the expenses of running a professional site do not at into your profits.
Therefore, your website expenses should always be negligible compared to your earnings. Some of the costs of running a website are;
Why is it essential for your website to rank among the first search results?
Appearing on page one of any search engine can undoubtedly help with RIO. Most users will never go past page 1 of the search results. For instance, A user looking to buy an exercise bike might type "Exercise bike" in the search bar. Once they hit "search," they will compare prices, brands, or functionalities on websites on page 1 and they're likely to decide to purchase an exercise bike from those very same websites.
Chitika outlines the relation between result positioning and likelihood of purchase very well. According to the site, a site on page 1 is likely to enjoy a 32.5% of traffic share while that one page 5 will only get a meager 6.1%.
Google algorithms for site ranking keep changing; hence it's essential to stay in tune with what's current at all times.
Ways to incorporate SEO on your site
Use relevant keywords
Use keywords that potential buyers in your niche are likely to search for, on the internet. For example, a company that sells chia seeds in Canada might prefer to use the keywords "Chia Canada," to help direct buyers to their site. If you don't know what keywords to use, there are tons of keyword research tools that can help you determine what's best for your business.
Make your site mobile friendly
Ensure that a reader on a mobile phone can comfortably access your website and be able to read your content with ease. Most website creation platforms will ask you to enable mobile view while others will do it automatically. Google will notice too, and rank your site rank better.
Many readers spend a lot of time on their mobile phones, due to their availability and portability. If you haven't already taken advantage of mobile traffic, you should; by ensuring that you cater to mobile users, it's time you did so. If you look around you, plenty of people are on the internet using their devices in places like the subway, in the baking halls or even in restaurants and this is traffic that you shouldn't ignore.
Improve user experience
User Experience (UX) is yet another thing that Google notices. Search engines favor sites that give readers an overall pleasant experience. If you're wondering whether your website is user-friendly, ask yourself the following questions.
Write quality content
You can never go wrong with quality content. Content is what food is to a restaurant. Just like a restaurant should aim at serving tantalizing food to retain and grow its customer base, so should a website owner with content.
Qualities of good content
If you don't have time to write professional content, it's best to hire a professional writer to help you with the task. A professional writer knows how to write good content that will make search engines happy.
Internal links can help a reader navigate through your site easily. For instance, you can connect articles that relate to each other on your site for the benefit of readers. You may also want to write guest posts for external links. These links will lead readers back to your site. However, ensure that you write guests post for authority sites; otherwise, the links won't be of much help.
What is SEM?
SEM is an acronym that represents Search Engine Marketing. If you want to increase your website's Search Engine Results Page (SERPs), you must aim to advertise and optimize. In essence, SEM also includes SEO since you must apply optimization tactics.
With millions of pages available on the internet, the competition is already fierce, and you must compete for visibility by applying the right SEM strategies. When a user uses a keyword to search for information on the web, the search engine analyses billions of websites and produces results- SERPS.
Therefore, SEM serves the purpose of putting you in front of millions of potential clients that may be searching for your services or products.
Every SERP is unique to different users, although the differences may be too subtle for the user to notice. The differences between the pages are due to factors like browsing history, social factors or even geographic locations.
How to apply SEM on your website
Use the right PPC platforms such as Google Ads. Before choosing a platform, ensure that it serves your marketing needs. For instance, ads that appear on the internet might be more applicable to the younger generation while hardcopy newspapers or magazines might appeal to the older generation.
Social media management is yet another compelling marketing strategy. Social media marketing involves hiring a social media professional to write posts, share content, comment, respond to queries, and perform anything else that requires managing a company's social media account.
Ad campaigns take time before showing real results. It, therefore, pays to be patient, because it's crucial first to analyze your campaign strategies before you can embark on other campaigns. Too many campaigns might not give you enough time to make a proper analysis.
Find a balance between your Click Through Rate (CTR) and conversion rates. Go to each advertising platform's settings feature, and you'll get a tutorial on how to do your testing. Again, you have to be patient with the testing to get conclusive results.
Indexing all your pages
Although search engines like Google are capable of finding pages on their own, that might take time, and it, therefore, helps to fast-track the process. Take advantage of things like Google plus to help get your pages on Google's index.
Build a good online reputation
Always keep your readers engaged and avoid linking to questionable sites. There are plenty of sites that offer link building services, but the problem with this is that you're never sure of where they'll submit your site. Some of these sites submit your site to questionable directories that could be dealing in things like porn or even crime which can lead to de-ranking by Google.
The Difference Between SEO and SEM
As you've gathered from the above text, SEM incorporates SEO and Paid marketing (Google ADs or Social Media Management). Although SEO SEM may sound like a similar concept, it's important to note that both serve different purposes.
SEO is a component of SEM; hence SEM cannot survive without SEO. Both, however, serve the purposes of increasing your site's visibility. Think of it as helping you get a competitive advantage against your competitors. If you're wondering which strategy you should apply to your site, ask yourself what results in you want at the moment.SEO takes longer than SEM.
Therefore, it's essential to plan for both short term and long term. You can start by using SEM (running paid ads) if your business is relatively new, but bear in mind that the results of these are not long-term.Paid ads have an expiry, which is basically when your funds for the campaign are over.
After that, you must keep paying for the adds, which can be quite expensive. Besides the upfront ads fee, you might also need to hire an Ads expert because they require a certain level of expertise. Doing your Ads wrong can make your visibility efforts online futile.SEO, on the other hand, is more organic but takes time for you to start seeing results. However, the benefits of SEO last longer.
SEO can help your website establish authority and credibility. SEO requires you to monitor, and analyze your site's unpaid traffic patterns. You can succeed longterm without SEM, but you will find it very hard to accomplish online success without SEO. Therefore use both tactics at different stages of your business for best results.