SEO & SEM: 3 Reasons why you should use them together
The digital marketing landscape is chock full of jargon and acronyms. Two terms that particularly get thrown around a lot nowadays are SEO and SEM. Even though there is only a one-letter difference between the two, SEO and SEM both have the same holy grails – to drive traffic, boost conversions, and strengthen brand authority for a company.
So, if you’re faced with the daunting task of creating a digital marketing plan for your business, and wondering which one to invest in between SEO and SEM services — the answer is both. Keep reading to get the full juice!
Before we dive any deeper into the nitty-gritty of it all, let’s take a look at the basics:
What is SEO?
Although it sounds like a fancy tech-lingo, it’s actually a very simple concept. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and deals with any organic traffic that comes about naturally as a result of a user typing a query into a search engine (eg: Google) and clicking on one of the listings. There are a lot of benefits to SEO, the most obvious one being brand awareness. Think of it this way. People won’t purchase from you if they don’t know who you are. And while there are a number of ways to get your potential customers to find out about you, nothing quite matches SEO. When your customers search your relevant keywords, SEO is what puts you right at the forefront.
Pretty straightforward right? Well, not quite. The right traffic takes more than just slapping keywords onto a page. It takes time to research the right keywords so you can come up with unique and creative SEO content that can target your ideal consumer. As you can imagine, all of this can be complex, time-consuming, and might not even get you any results in the short term. That’s where SEM comes into play.
What is SEM?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) focuses on gaining website traffic by utilising paid ads to increase a website’s visibility on search engines. You might be thinking that since SEO can get your website ranking organically without the need for paid ads, you shouldn’t worry about SEM. We would disagree. While SEO is a great way to attract organic traffic over the long term, it takes time to build momentum. SEM services, on the other hand, guarantee a smooth sail to the top of SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), thus allowing you to effectively reach your target audience, drive traffic, and boost conversions.
Still confused? Remember this instead: SEO: Focuses on getting traffic from organic (unpaid) search. SEM: Focuses on getting traffic from paid and organic searches.
Integrating SEO & SEM for Killer Results
Now that we’ve gone through the basics of SEO and SEM services, the next question is which one is better for your business? Frankly, it doesn’t matter. If they’re both profitable, wouldn’t you want to capitalize on both? SEO and SEM services are both equally useful and they shouldn’t be used separately, rather as two components to a more extensive digital marketing strategy. Not convinced? Here are a few more reasons why you should use them together:
1. Consistent Growth
By leveraging both SEO and SEM services, you’re able to fill any gaps in effectiveness and secure consistent and high-quality traffic for your website. Think of SEO as your primary effort. It takes time but it proves fruitful in the long term. However, as mentioned above, it could fail you in regard to short-term results. If that happens, don’t give up! Turn to your backup plan. SEM gets quick results, meaning that you can utilise it to fill the gaps where SEO falls short. If you want to appear in the list of results for search terms that you don’t currently rank organically for, combining SEO and SEM services is the way to go.
2. Increased Visibility & Higher Ranking
When you target similar keywords in both SEO implementation and paid marketing to appear in the search results, there are higher chances your business may appear at the top of organic results and paid searches for the same search term. And it doesn’t stop here — using SEO and SEM services together increases the chance that your brand will rank more than once on the results page. This combined effort doubles your brand exposure, raises the probability of a click-through, and increases credibility and authority on the search topic.
3. Better Keyword Targeting
Integrating SEO and SEM also translates to better keyword targeting. When you look at the results of your PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns, you can see which keywords perform best — aka which keywords your target customers are searching for. You can then optimise your content for those keywords to drive more qualified organic traffic. Alternatively, you can use complimentary keyword strategies: Invest in SEM services to target keywords that are harder to organically rank for, then concentrate your SEO efforts on long-tail keywords that are more precise, have lower search volume, are easier to rank for.
4. Short-Term & Long-Term Results
Once you optimise your website for SEO, it takes a while for Google to recognise it as a credible source and reward you with higher rankings. On the other hand, paid ads can rank and start drawing traffic and clicks instantly. SEM is an effective short term approach to increase brand exposure and visibility and put your products and services in front of consumers. However, SEM services can’t drive long-term traffic and results the way SEO does. Once a paid campaign is completed, the traffic it generates ends too, and the costs adds up to continuously create and pay for new ads to keep the momentum going. An SEO-optimised website can promote sustainable organic traffic and support long-term growth. Combined together, SEO and SEM services can strengthen your marketing efforts for the present and future.
So, is it profitable to use SEO and SEM together? If you are doing it correctly and your ads complement your SEO strategy, then absolutely yes! SEO and SEM are more intertwined than many think, and integrating both SEO and SEM services ensure both processes benefit from one another. The goal is to avoid depending too heavily on one strategy or the other. Instead, balance your immediate SEM results with your long term SEO strategy. That way, you’re building market authority while simultaneously creating an active customer base.
As promising as this sounds, you should however also remember that without quality website content and proper keyword targeting, the performance of both processes will suffer. Here’s why:
1. Content Marketing and SEO/SEM Go Hand-In-Hand
Having a great SEO and SEM strategy does not mean that your content can be lacklustre. One of the numerous factors that search engines take into consideration when looking at content is quality. It seems like a no-brainer but fresh, unique, and creative SEO content gets quickly indexed and ranks higher than low-value and duplicate content.
So, how do you obtain this high quality content? Your best bet is to get in touch with professional writers working through a qualified SEO agency. Here at McKenzie Partners, we can help with that! In fact, we pride ourselves at analysing strategies to deliver attention-grabbing, high-ranking, and creative SEO content that will shoot your blog posts right on top of the SERPs!
2. Both SEO & SEM Rely Heavily on Keywords.
Though the marketing techniques used for each are different, both organic and paid search need extensive keyword research to capture traffic from high-volume searches. Does that mean you can stuff random keywords to your blog post? Absolutely not. Remember, the goal isn’t just to draw people to your site. It’s to attract the right people — people who will most potentially invest in your services.
So, if you’re just focusing on adding in keywords but not on actually delivering relevant information, your site is not going to rank highly. And, even if it does, users are simply going to quickly steer away from your page, which doesn’t accomplish your end goal. Sounds like a lot of work? Well, that’s where an SEO agency comes into play! As a full service digital marketing and advertising agency, we work hard to deliver not just great general content, but also great metadata that will skyrocket your ROI.
And there you have it! If you’re still scratching your head after this, don’t worry! Our team of digital natives is here to help! Contact us today for a consultation on best practices for harmonising SEO and SEM strategies.