SEM vs SEO for Business: Which Is Better?

seo vs sem


Did you know that 68% of what everyone does online starts with searching Google first? Because of this, it’s very important for every business owner to at least understand SEM and SEO.

Every successful business should be investing in digital marketing strategies that convert searches into clicks and turn those clicks to sales.

SEO for your local Santa Barbara business is one of the best ways to turn searches into sales, but SEM is also a great way to increase website traffic. We would like to share how these 2 different strategies work and help you figure out which strategy is the best for you.

What Does SEO Mean to Your Local Business?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long lasting digital marketing strategy that is essential to increase sales for your local business. 

SEO simply stated refers to all the different things that you do on and off your website that boosts its visibility. The main goal is to make the pages of your website more enticing to search engine spiders.  When Google, Bing and other search engines crawl your website, the quality of your pages determines how highly a page ranks. 

Consider that 95% of people only click on websites that show up on the first page. Ultimately, Search Engine Optimization helps your website increase clicks coming from direct specific searches.  Understanding SEO is important and there are two different types of SEO to understand: on-page and off-page SEO.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO strategies are adjustments made directly to your website. The most typical is to incorporate high-volume keyword phrases that you want your website to rank for.

Other on-page strategies include:

  • Producing quality blog posts and other content that people are interested in
  • Optimizing all your meta description information
  • Consistently Use internal links to other pages and blogs of your webpage
  • Use of title tags
  • Make sure you install an
  • SSL Certificate
  • Optimize image alt text

Off-Page SEO

Off-page Search Engine Optimization strategies are those that you carry out on various other areas of the web to increase your site rankings.

The most frequently recognized one is backlinking, or including hyperlinks within the text of other websites to various other credible pages.Internet search engine crawlers will associate your page with these other high-quality pages and rank your website higher in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

Other aspects of off-page SEO are:

  • Listing your website with Google My Business (GMB)
  • Listing your website with other directories
  • Generating traffic from inbound links from other websites
  • Marketing on social media channels
  • Building trust and a great reputation
  • Getting good reviews (especially when they link back to your website)
  • Domain authority

How Is SEM Different?

SEO is designed to create organic traffic, meaning that you aren’t spending money on advertising that is placed immediately for searchers to click.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is basically the opposite of SEO because it is a paid search strategy. You pay for your clicks. You first build a pay per click (PPC) advertisement, then bid on a high-volume keyword that is searched by people when looking for your services.
There are many tools to help find the volume of different keyword phrases. Google Analytics is one of the tools to see what search words people are typing when searching.

You can find keywords that you see people hitting often but not everytime are the search terms that you should focus on most.

It is a pretty simple process. Simply establish your budget and your ad will be immediately displayed until your money is gone.

When a search is populated the results will show your ad at the top of the search engine list or in the sidebar. Mobile users may also see it at the bottom of the page as well as the top.

SEM provides instant traffic, you don’t need to wait for your content to be crawled by search engines. This is definitely in contrast with SEO, which can take about 4-12 months to help your website rank better.

When your PPC campaign ends, you need to look at the metrics showing what ads were clicked on the most. Study the trends in style or in the types of keywords that were displayed. You want to study the data to determine the changes needed to make your next campaign produce better results.

Which Option Is Right for You?

Choosing whether SEO or SEM is right for your business is based on your needs and your budget. If you need traffic to your website right away then SEM is the right choice.

SEM is a good choice especially for new businesses that have a new website because you don’t need to wait for many months to bring traffic to your website.

SEO is the right choice for established businesses that are looking for the best long-term strategy. PPC ads expire when your money is gone, while quality content in your blog posts never expire.

When people search for the keywords found in your posts that are well optimized google will rank your pages high. Well-optimized pages look great to Google spiders, ranking them high in SERPs position. More people click on these links due to this prominent ranking, making the page look better to crawlers. Your page will maintain its ranking because of the focus on high quality relevant content.

Hiring the best digital marketing agency you can afford will greatly help.

SEO And SEM As A Joint Strategy

Focusing on SEO is the smartest long-term strategy, and most business owners should always be thinking long-term. But as we all know when cash flow is needed quickly you might need to utilize an SEM strategy.

It can take many months from the time you create content to the time that the content is visible? That’s why using a joint strategy of both SEO and SEM together is a great option.

SEM gets people going to your website immediately before the SEO strategies start to work. You won’t need to wait for your content to start to convert. It is also good to know that people finding your site via PPC ads helps Google crawlers to recognize your page as reputable.

When your SEO content starts to work, it will be more effective because crawlers already know the content is quality. You can also use SEM to generate leads and sales for your SEO content in the future.

Make sure you check the analytics to see what search terms are working the best. These are keywords that you should be requesting content for from your SEO specialist.  There are many ways that SEO experts can grow your business

Launch Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The only thing left is to take action. Now that you understand more about SEO for your local business and how it is different from SEM, it’s time to make a decision. Contact Local Internet Space and our internet marketing services team with any other questions you have regarding improving your website ranking. We’re excited to help improve your visibility, leads, and sales, so call us right away for a free consultation!


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