SEO or SEM: The Alphabet Soup of Digital Marketing

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You want to improve your company’s rankings on search engines to help grow your business. Everyone wants to be first, but what does it take to be a top listing? SEO, SEM, PPC…what’s what and what is better?

Let’s start at the top. SEO and SEM share the same goal — driving quality online traffic to your brand, or business. The digital marketing alphabet soup has a lot of ingredients. They all bring out different flavors, and you may need all of them at some time.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the organic, or natural, ingredient. It’s often considered the base of the digital marketing plan because a rich stock of content serves a business well for a long time. This is the content on your website that uses key search terms, backlinks, social media sharing, and more to improve your Google ranking. Publishing high-quality content that’s useful to your target audience, through blog articles and page copy, helps establish your industry credibility and draws consumers to your site. It takes a bit longer to reach full strength, but it’s a sustainable investment when kept fresh.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the spice that comes from extra, optional ingredients. These paid ads or tools are more costly, but they add immediate flavor. (PPC, or pay per click, is often used synonymously with SEM.) Sometimes, your business needs a quick boost, whether to build immediate brand awareness, advertise a sale or open house, or achieve another short-term goal. Using SEM with ad copy that matches your consumers’ chosen search terms and meta data can generate fast results, but it requires continued dollars to keep rankings high. Google Ads is the top-rated platform, but Facebook, LinkedIn, and other search engines also offer popular advertising opportunities.

Plans that integrate strategic Search Engine Marketing with quality Search Engine Optimization, can be highly effective. Strong, relevant keywords that match search queries are vital to both SEO and SEM in driving traffic to your web page. Together, they provide speed, visibility, and substance.

Once your website is optimized for SEO, it takes time for search engines to recognize it and deliver higher rankings. Paid ads can immediately be ranked and draw clicks and traffic to your landing page. However, once your paid ad campaign ends, so does the traffic it generates. What may start as a relatively inexpensive pay per click, or SEM, campaign can become a much larger budget item if you must continuously pay for new ads to maintain visibility. You will need to further engage your consumers with solid, valuable content once they reach your website; the search engine optimized website will deliver sustainable organic traffic over the long-term.

So the other question you may ask is: who has time to keep up with all that? Answer: Metta Digital Marketing. While you do you and whatever your business is best at, digital marketing is what we do. We have a team that can produce relevant SEO content and appealing images, as well as strategically place paid ads when and where appropriate. Most important, we can make your digital presence work hard for you. We’ll show you regular reports of the analytics and metrics we monitor. You’ll see what pays off and what we might want to tweak. We love the challenge of developing a strategy and recipe to achieve the results you want. Let us help you identify the best ingredients for amazing soup…and success.