Is your small business doing enough to be found online? If you’re not using search engine marketing (SEM), you’re missing out on potential customers and sales. SEM is a marketing tactic designed to leverage Google search to drive high-quality traffic and leads to your website. The main two types of SEM are SEO and PPC.
These two marketing strategies are a great way to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), helping you reach more people looking for your products or services. Here we’ll break down exactly what SEO and PPC are and how you can implement them to grow your business.
What Are the Two Main Types of SEM?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Organic SEO refers to the process of optimizing a website for search engine ranking without the use of paid ads. Organic SEO is about creating and building quality content around targeted keyword phrases (on-page SEO) and developing backlinks from other sites to increase your website’s domain authority (off-page SEO). The goal with organic SEO is to rank highly on Google’s first page because that’s where most web users will go to query a product or service.
Organic SEO can be time-consuming, but it’s proven to be an invaluable tool for businesses that take their time implementing these strategies over an extended period of time. It’s not something you can do in just one day or even one week; it’s an ongoing effort that yields gradual – but powerful – results. Here are the highlights of how SEO can benefit your business:
High Return on Investment
SEO provides the best ROI over any other kind of marketing that exists! Not only that, but it’s extremely cost-effective because it leverages users who are already on the hunt for your product or service.
This form of SEM increases organic website rankings, which means it doesn’t cost anything but time and effort! As long as you have good content, relevant keywords, and links from other high-quality sites pointing back at yours, there’s strong potential for your website to rank on the first page of Google without having to pay for ads.
Increases Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the extent to which a consumer can recall and recognize a particular brand and its various attributes. SEM helps improve brand awareness by increasing website visits, resulting in more people knowing about your company and its products or services. When people are aware of a business, they’re much more likely to consider purchasing its products or services.
Many businesses believe they need to compete for high-volume keywords to succeed with SEO. However, by focusing on long-tail keywords, you can reach more specific audiences than what you might find with shorter, more popular search terms. These are specific phrases that people are more likely to use when looking for something on the web.
Compared to short, generic keywords, long-tail keywords have much lower competition and can be much easier to rank for. Better still, people who are searching for long-tail keywords are usually farther along in the buying process, and they’re more likely to be converted into customers.
Improves Brand Credibility
People trust Google to present them with the most relevant results to their search. That means if Google trusts your website enough to rank it on page one, users are more likely to trust you, too. They’ll see you as an authority in your industry and value your content more, making them that much more likely to become a customer.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is a type of internet marketing that involves the use of online ads. PPC ads are typically shown on search engine results pages and text links (paid search). A person who pays for advertising with this method is known as a “pay-per-click” advertiser. As its name suggests, pay-per-click adverts only charge advertisers when someone clicks on the advert to visit the company’s website or make a purchase from their site.
Advertisers bid on keywords and pay whenever someone clicks on the advert. This is referred to as PPC or CPC (cost per click) advertising, because you only pay for each click, not for each impression of your adverts. Advertisements can be displayed on search engines such as Google and their other platforms, such as YouTube. Pay-per-click has several benefits that differ from organic search.
PPC provides highly-targeted traffic because it is easy, fast, and cost-effective. The best example of this is when you are looking for a specific brand or service. Thanks to the keyword targeting, PPC ads will show up at the top of the page – above the organic search results. This gives you an edge over businesses that are only ranking organically because users will see your website before theirs.
Setting up a PPC campaign takes less time than managing SEO campaigns. In fact, you can see an ROI from PPC ads within a few months, and often even sooner than that. On the other hand, SEO can be a slower process because it takes time for Google to trust your site and rank your articles. This is especially true if your site is new or has very few backlinks (low domain authority).
PPC gives you more control over who sees your adverts. You can use segmentation features to target specific demographics by location, age, and interests. For example, if you’re a law firm targeting people in the United States, you can use PPC to ensure that your adverts are only shown to people in the US. It also gives you more stability than organic search.
With SEO, you only have so much control over how high you rank in the SERPs, and your rankings often fluctuate due to Google’s frequent algorithm changes. Since you’re paying to list your website, you won’t be as affected by Google’s frequent algorithm changes.
Paid search offers detailed reports of all clicks and impressions by keyword, date, and device. This information is vital because it gives you tangible data on how well your ads are performing, what keywords are being used to find your site, and which devices are being used to view your ads. You can use this data to streamline your ads for even better results.
Since you only pay for site visits, you have total control over your advertising budget. You can even set a maximum spend amount per day, so you never go over what you have allocated for ads. Well-executed ads are also cost-effective because the higher percentage of impressions-to-clicks you can achieve, the lower the ad cost.
Should You Choose SEO or PPC for Your Business?
Both SEO and PPC have advantages and disadvantages, but your business will ultimately benefit from both types of SEM. Organic search engine rankings help generate traffic for your website through free searches on major search engines such as Google and Bing. This gives businesses a chance to rank highly in search results and gain more visibility with potential customers.
Meanwhile, because PPC campaigns are quick and easy to set up, they should be used to take advantage of short-term opportunities, like if your business is running a special offer, for example. A combination of both techniques will help grow your online presence and increase traffic through the use of natural (organic) search engine rankings as well as paid search advertisements. Here are some examples of how you can benefit from using SEO and PPC together.
Doubles Your SERP Real Estate
By combining SEO with PPC, you can double your “real estate” on search engine results pages. This is because your site will show in the ad space at the top of the page and in the following list of organic search results, increasing your visibility to potential customers.
Improves Traffic and Conversations
Aside from creating more brand awareness, appearing on the SERPs more than once means you will receive more traffic and click-throughs. More visitors means more eyes on your content and products, which ultimately leads to higher conversions.
More Data to Analyze
Using SEO and PPC together gives you more data to analyze to improve your marketing campaigns. This data can include information such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and average cost-per-click. You can use this data to refine which keywords to target, how much to bid for them, and the ads’ design. You can also use the same data to refine your SEO approach.
These two types of SEM can be a game-changing strategy in your business. Using SEO and PPC together is the best way to ensure that your business benefits from high-quality traffic from paid and unpaid sources. Using the techniques together can improve your website’s visibility, boost your conversions, and increase your ROI.
Do you need help with your SEM strategy? We offer full-stack digital marketing services, including SEM, content marketing, social media marketing, and more. Visit Anthem Software today for a free consultation, and we can help you formulate a strategy to boost your brand’s traffic and revenue!