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If you have some knowledge in digital marketing, you must quite familiar with these two terms, SEO and SEM. Do you fully understand what the terms stand for and how they work?

Today we will discuss about SEO & SEM.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Frankly, Search Engine Optimization is to improve the ORGANIC search results ranking when people search for specific keywords, terms or even brand name on Google.

For example: 

The search results highlighted in red box without AD in front is the organic search results that appear when people search shop online on Google. While the rest of the search results with AD icon in front are all paid search advertising which is SEM which we will go through later.

Thus, the process of optimizing search result ranking of specific keywords & terms is known as search engine optimization.

Why you need it? Because it is ORGANIC. When it’s organic, it means it’s free and you don’t have to pay for it and it will help to direct free traffic to your website which could be a great asset for your digital marketing strategy.

Common Misconception of SEO

1. Instant Visible Results

SEO takes time and effort, you need to improve from different aspects of your website ranging from content, website structure, backlinks, meta titles & descriptions, site load speed and much more which we might discuss in-depth in our future articles. 

2. Limited Amount of Organic Traffic

Imagine there is 60,000 search being done in every second in Google. 1 minute would be 3.8 million searches. Now just take maybe 0.5% of the figure, how much traffic would it generate to your website? With the right keywords ranking in SEO, it can bring significant impact to your website in the long term.

3. SEO is One-Time Done Process

Now that your keywords might have very good ranking on search results, but do remember that Google algorithm is constantly changing and there are always other competitors that try to rank better and compete with your keywords. If there is no effort being done for new content and improve the on-page & off-page SEO. Eventually, your competitors might outrank you in future.
Always stay updated with Google Updates on their algorithm: Google Webmaster Central Blog

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

What is SEM? It is Search Engine Marketing which involves Paid Advertising for specific keywords or search terms when it is done on a search engine. With so many competitors out there all fighting for the same audience segments, it’s really important to advertise online, and search engine marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your business further to showcase your products in a different marketing channel.

Common Misconception of SEM

1. It’s Expensive & Ineffective

This is one of the most common perceptions of most advertisers have towards SEM. The search terms are too expensive and not effective enough to convert into sales. However, little did they know that the price of the Keywords highly dependent on the competition of the keywords among the market. 

SEM is basically auction-based bidding where there is big factory of the price of the keyword depends on the competition level and the price willing to be paid by advertisers. If the keywords are not ineffective why would so many advertisers continue to bid for it? Is it expensive and ineffective because different factors such as the SEM strategy being applied wrongly? This could be one thing that advertisers need to consider before coming into this misconception.

2. No One Search my Business Online

In this digital age, where all kinds of information is available online with just one-click with our phones. There is truly no zero exposure on the internet. As niche your market is in the online presence, there is still a portion of the audience that is constantly growing in volume every year.

Besides, it’s always possible to use a different SEM strategy to improve your online presence to brings you result.

3. I’m already ranked #1 in Organic Search Results
Firstly, congratulations for ranking 1st in the search results. However, do remember that it is possible for your competitors to buy specific search terms and seeing how Google works, Ads are still placed on top of organic results before anything else. So, still think that you don’t need SEM? Think it all over again. 

Same example:

As you all can see, there are at least 4-5 businesses competing for one keyword: “shop online” as they all deemed this search terms relevant to their business.

Imagine seeing this result which ads have the highest likelihood for you to click if you are into a neutral position. 

In a normal situation, it would be the search ad at the first position.Results released from AOL Search Data in 2006 also supported that the ad that placed first position have the highest CTR among all other positions.

So now that you know that search ad positioning is important to optimize your search engine marketing. What are the other factors that you need to take note?

Just doing SEO or SEM itself is not enough, it is also important to optimize your search advertising with the right strategy and ensure their effectiveness to maximize your ROI of your search marketing while also fully utilizing SEO strategy to also capture organic results from specific keywords term that you would need to capture for long term.

In conclusion, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is more towards a short-term marketing strategy to directly increase your exposure to your target audience while Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more towards a long term marketing strategy that constantly generates traffic to your business in organic search settings. Both works in their own way and when it is combined, the marketing impact would be much bigger for the best interest of the business.

Still hesitating? Better start now or your competitors will.

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