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SEO vs. SEM. What's the Difference?

One of the questions we get most often when deciding where to allocate limited resources is what the advantages and drawbacks are of going with a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising strategy like Google Ads vs. a content focused search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

Clearly the best is to do both in tandem— and we generally recommend this where possible— however we understand resources can be limited and even in going with both strategies they can be weighted differently for different effects and/or industries.

Below we’ll talk about the pluses and minuses of SEO vs PPC.

Which is Better? SEM or SEO?

One isn't necessarily better than the other, as they each have unique advantages. Generally, we use paid ads and SEO together— which is always the best, as they all affect Google's algorithm for pulling people into your site, getting people to notice you, and then converting them— but each method has clear advantages.

Simply put, Google, Facebook, and other paid advertising platforms are (nearly) immediate and can bring a lot of people into your site far quicker than SEO. Paid ads are also very fluid, meaning you can easily increase and decrease your lead generation based on your needs at that time and/or the season.

Paid ads work as a big funnel to get people to listen to what you want to say, and are very effective at this. You do however pay per click and when your allocated budget is spent your ads will turn off and no longer be visible to the public. This is part of why paid ads are best used in combination with organic lead generation, SEO.

With SEO, also known as organic lead generation, it takes much longer to generate results. Typically anywhere from 4-6 months before you can expect to see a large increase in traffic on your website and/or earning a spot on the first page of search engines like Google and Bing. An organic strategy, while a much slower start, will continue to consistently produce results year-over-year, as long as it is properly managed. You need to continually manage your website to ensure you maintain your rankings and keep the upper hand on your competition (paid ads also require a constant eye and continual tweaks/updates to ensure you are getting the most return on your investment and not wasting your ad spend dollars). One thing SEO isn’t is fluid, like paid advertising is, once SEO is started it is either on or off. Meaning you cannot limit what you receive organically, once you are on the first page of search engines and the leads start coming in they won’t stop (which is a good thing!) and unless you unpublish that page or are bumped from the first page of search engines. You can however expand your SEO as your business and/or service area grows.

Curious how your website's SEO is and/or want to check your domain authority?

So… What Should I Do?

The best strategy is always to do both, but there aren’t always the funds available (or time if you are trying to manage it yourself). Every business is unique and in different stages which is why no two marketing strategies are alike.

That makes the ideal strategy to hire a digital marketing agency like Amplify Digital Marketing to create and execute a cohesive marketing strategy that ensures you aren’t losing leads to your competitors. Allowing you to do what you do best, service your clients and run your business. Giving you the ability to provide the highest level of service to your customers which leads to more great reviews, more referrals, and even more growth for your business!

If you’d like a FREE consultation, contact us today at 248-820-5689 or submit to our form.

Not interested in hiring an agency now and/or plan on trying to market your own business? The simple answer is that anywhere you get your name in front of potential customers is beneficial to your business. Even if it just adds to your brand recognition and not lead generation. Every industry, and business, is unique which is why we meet with (either virtually or in-person) all our potential clients to discuss the current position of their business, their short and long-term goals and target market, so that we can customize a plan specifically for them.



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