Many bloggers use the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) interchangeably.
However, there exists a distinct difference between them. SEO is the process of optimizing your contents or blog so that it can be more visible on search results.
On the other hand, SEM is basically the means you use to try and get a high search ranking, which can be done by either buying paid listings, using free means or a combination of both.
Search engine marketing is considered as a crucial part of marketing. According to iProspect, 90% of people searching for products, services and information use search engines.
Once a user types a word or a phrase using search engine like Google, the top results of pages ranked for that query are displayed. However, the total number of clicks a website gets is determined by many factors.
According to a marketing study conducted sometimes back by convertlinks.com;
- Organic search receives 250% more traffic than paid search.
- Organic search converts 30% higher than pay-per-click (PPC) or paid search.
- If your page appears on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs), it gets atleast 80% of the total click.
- The second page gets only 10% of the total click.
The reason for this is because organic search results are usually based on the total number of pages indexed by different search engines. In addition, people tend to trust natural search results more since they occur and looks natural unlike paid sponsorship. They are also considered more convincing.
- Your website may take a longer time before getting indexed and ranking for the keyword of your choice.
- If your website is not well optimized, it may never get a chance to appear among the top search results.
- Much more effort is needed to make sure you keep up with your competitors.
- You spend alot of time on SEO process and link building.
In contrast, Paid search is where companies/website owners bid for a certain keyword position in the search engines. A website owner decides a keyword or a keyword phrase that he/she would like his/her website to be ranked for. If a user type that keyword or query in the search engine box, the website appears on the first search result. The higher the bid, the higher the ranking.
Pro of Using Paid Search
- You do not have to wait for a long time to get your website among the top of search results.
- You web traffic is increased almost immediately.
- You get the power to control your campaign.
- Paid search traffic is considered as an easy and an efficient way to improve a website traffic and ranking.
- It is very expensive to maintain a paid campaign.
- Users have problem trusting paid sponsored ads.
- Conversion rate tends to be much lower in comparison to organic search traffic.
Lastly, deciding whether you want to go for a paid search or organic search depends on many factors and what you really expect to achieve in the long run. Whether you decide to use paid search or organic search, the most important thing to do is to make sure your contents stand out among others. This is what will lead to a higher conversion rate.