Marketing | 11.11.2014

SEO or SEM: What’s Your Online Marketing Strategy?

When thinking about online marketing, it’s important to look at the big picture and consider what is right for your business.  One of the first questions that many business owners ask is whether they should be focusing their website marketing efforts on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or on Search Engine Marketing (SEM). When it comes to long-term success, effective online marketing isn’t about pouring all of your resources into one type of promotion. Online marketing that results in the highest level of visibility comes from an effective blend of organic SEO techniques and paid SEM campaigns.

Paid Search vs. Organic Marketing Efforts

Back in the early days of online marketing, all you needed to achieve a higher search engine ranking was a few keywords in your titles and meta descriptions, along with some specific words and phrases in your content. Thanks to the changes in how Google now ranks websites, site owners need to have much more than just the right keywords to be ranked higher than others. While SEO does focus on optimizing elements within your website to achieve better search engine rankings, it’s not enough on it’s own to make you really stand out in specific geographic locations or among other targeted audiences. That’s where SEM comes in.

When we talk about SEM, we are referring to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising or cost-per-click (CPC) advertising.  These types of online ads are purchased through advertising platforms like Google AdWords and Bing Ads.  When carried out strategically, paid search marketing campaigns are highly effective at giving businesses fast exposure to a highly targeted and defined audience. Users can take advantage of features like geotargeting and other customizable options to quickly get their ads in front of the right people. It’s a very effective way for businesses to gain a competitive edge that will last.

Create the Perfect SEO/SEM Formula for Your Business

When business owners are launching a new marketing initiative or are just starting their first website, many focus on SEO and don’t even think about paid advertising. Paying for ad space may seem like an unnecessary cost when a business is launching on a tight budget, but having the ability to really narrow down the target audience for your ads can have an immediate impact. SEM does require a small financial investment, but has the upside of getting your name out to a very specific audience. By creating a successful marketing model that combines the best of both SEO and SEM, you can carefully balance your efforts for the highest level of exposure.

The key to getting good results with SEO and SEM is to create an effective strategy that you can work with. For the best results, consider hiring a specialized company to manage your marketing efforts.  While many people try the DIY method when it comes to SEO and SEM, they often turn to the pros when they are ready to start seeing real results.  How has SEO/SEM helped your business?  Share your story with other business owners by leaving a comment below.

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