Vol 100901: This Issue: SEO vs. SEM
If you own a web site, you’ve probably heard the terms SEO or Search Engine Optimisation and SEM or Search Engine Marketing. Today, we’ll talk a little about those.
What is the difference between SEO and SEM?
The following diagram will show some of the differences and similarities.
SEO is getting your generic listing to the top of the search engines through means of popularity rating. ie. A lot of people like your site, so they log to it frequently.
SEM is paying to have your site listed at the top, at least until its generic popularity grows enough to keep it there.
There are just two paid listings in the above examples. They are listed in the right side column. If there are a larger number of listings, then the first few would appear in the blue shaded area at the top of the generic listings.
Which is more important? SEO or SEM?
A well formatted SEM campaign will lead to a good generic search engine ranking, and it probably won’t take that long to achieve.
If you get your site seen by a lot of people, using the SEM method to attract that traffic, then you will automatically grow a good search engine ranking with your generic listing.
The whole idea of search engines is to get your web site at least on the front page of the search engine, and preferably in the top few listings for your nominated search terms.
Web site popularity is what will get it to the top of the generic search engines. The more people who visit your site, the higher up the rankings your web site will climb and the faster it will get there. One of the fastest ways to get it there (SEO) is by marketing it (SEM), ie. getting it seen by a lot of visitors.
This can be achieved by selecting a few keywords, probably no more than a half a dozen or so, which you are prepared to bid on, to be seen at the top of the search listings for those keywords, and you only pay for clicks, not displays (PPC).
eg. in Diagrams 1 & 2, Gary at Pink Waterlily Health Centre at Palmwoods has previously bid on the terms “anxiety” and “depression” using SEM. The generic web site listing now appears at the top of the search results for those terms in his selected target area of Palmwoods in the Sushine Coast hinterland.
Gary only needs to bid on those terms again if his ranking starts to slip. He can now spend his budget on building his ranking for some other search terms.
So, SEM will get more visitors, but what about sales?
That all depends on a lot of factors including product or service type & quality. The ability of your reader audience to pay for your products etc. However, sales conversions from first time visitors is a pretty rare result to achieve, like way less than 1%. It usually takes several visits before people feel confident enough to take out their credit card and hand it to you.
You’ll also need more than just SEO & SEM to be effective in your web marketing efforts. There are several more key ingredients to effective web marketing.
Web marketing is all about relationship marketing. You market yourself harder than you market your products & services in order to achieve the best results.
TV, radio & printed media advertising is generally scatter marketing a brand eg, Holden, Ford, Lowes etc blasting it to the masses & hoping someone pops into the shop.
The Internet is more on direct response, relationship marketing. ie. each individual must act on an invitation that is addressed to them personally, and/or on a need they have for which they are looking for a solution & the results are measurable.
- Next Issue we’ll talk about email marketing campaigns.
- As always, call & ask any questions you may have
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