SEO vs SEM

SEO vs SEM

Google has two types of search results, organic results and paid results.

Though both SEO and SEM aim at increasing a website’s visibility, they are two different ways of optimizing results for search engines.  

SEO includes organically optimizing your website to boost up its ranking and show up on search engine’s results page. 

These results are natural or unpaid results.

 SEM is an umbrella term that includes both SEO and PPC. 

PPC is the method through which a website optimizes for paid results.  Google highlights the paid results by ‘ad’ mark written on them. 

So basically, any practice that drives traffic to your websites falls under SEM.

paid ad and organic result on the keyword SEO

As shown, the first result uses PPC while the second one is SEO optimized.

Let us discuss them each: 

SEO:

SEO means optimizing content to rank for organic search results. 

But achieving results through SEO is not so easy. 

SEO takes time. If you are a new website, then you should focus only on informational keywords. This is because not many people are going to buy from you and commercial keywords are highly competitive too. 

For example: At AdSchoolmaster, we are focusing more on informational keywords. Here’s one blog that we published: 

a blog on zero click searches

According to Ahrefs study, 95% of newly published pages don’t get to the top 10 ranking within one year.

 

% of pages ranking on Google based on their age

To optimize for SEO, you need to work on four main areas. They are on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO and content optimization. 

On-Page SEO: 

 

On-page SEO refers to improving the visible factors directly related to your web page. They include writing SEO-optimized meta tags, images, choosing the right keywords, and producing high-quality content. 

It gives a better idea about your page to search engines and improves user experience. 

Off-Page SEO: 

 

It refers to improving SEO factors outside your website to boost up your ranking on the search engine’s results page. 

 

Link building is the most important part of off-page SEO. 

 

Apart from getting high-quality backlinks, other important aspects include social media marketing, guest blogging, etc. 

Technical SEO: 

 

It means optimizing for the technical factors of your website. Through technical SEO, you can make sure your loading speed is fine and your web pages are properly crawled and indexed. 

 

Working on-site speed is the most crucial part of technical SEO.

 

According to statistics, 1 in 4 visitors will leave the website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. 

User Experience: 

 

A good user experience for a site would be: 

 

  • Visiting your website
  • Going through different pages
  • CTA 

 

One major factor that decides user experience is the CTR (Click Through Rate) of your website. 

It refers to the number of people clicking on your site every time it appears on the results page. 

 

With more CTR, your site will receive more traffic. This will give Google an indication that this page is liked by people. Hence, your ranking will get boosted. 

 

While you should have a high CTR, the bounce rate should always be less. 

 

BOUNCE RATE is the % of people leaving your website without taking any call to action. 

a graph showing bounce rate vs. page speed

PPC:

 

Pay Per Click is where websites pay to get clicks on search engines. 

 For example: 

 

If you click on the above result, it will cost them money. 

Let us discuss various parts of PPC that should focus on: 

Google Ads Account:

 

To run Google Ads, you need to first have a Google Ads account. In case you have a Gmail id, just enter it and create a password. 

Creating Ads: 

 

After creating your account, you need to do the setup. 

 

Decide on a budget and choose the keywords. Use Google Keyword Planner to find a list of keywords for your campaign. 

 

Choose the devices where you want your ad to run, set up your landing page, and finally write the ad copy. 

Writing Ads: 

You should be well-versed with the business you are creating ads for and do proper research. 

 

It’s a small space in which you have to write the ad, so be very selective and clear. 

 

Your CTR highly depends on the ad copy. A good ad copy will boost up your CTR which will, in turn, increase your quality score. 

 

Improving Quality Score:

 

Quality score is a score given by Google to your ad based on overall user experience and relevance between the keywords and your ads. 

 

The score ranges from 1- 10, 10 meaning the highest score and 1 being the lowest. 

Managing Ads: 

 

Google ads have their structure. The topmost is the campaign level followed by the ad sets level which further divides into ads. 

 

There are various types of campaigns depending on your business type. For example: if you just want to collect phone numbers and make calls, you can select a call-only campaign. 

Bidding: 

 

Every time someone clicks on your ad, you will be charged a certain amount of money. An advertiser can decide the maximum amount they are willing to spend on each click known as the bid amount. 

 

The more the bid amount, the better the placement on SERP. 

Ad Rank: 

 

Ad rank decides the placement of ads. 

 

Quality score * bid amount = ad rank 

 

PPC is a BIG financial investment. It is a whole test and trial method where you have to observe various combinations of keywords, ad copies, and landing pages.

 

 The moment you stop investing money, your ads will stop! So, it’s a total money game. 

 

When to go with PPC?

 

Budget: 

 

Going for PPC is always a great idea if you have a good amount of money in hand. Your results hugely depend on the amount of money you are willing to spend. 

 

But one big issue is that your ad campaign stops the very moment you stop investing. 

 

So, the results can be fleeting. 

 

Quick results: 

 

If you use SEM for running PPC, results can be achieved faster than SEO. 

 

If you are investing a good amount of money, you will get huge traffic in no time. Sometimes, it takes less than a day to get to the top of the results page. 

 

But to get the best ROI, you have to do a lot of testing. That includes A/B testing, trying different keywords, bid amount, etc. 

 

Knowledge of Google Ads account: 

 

You should be knowing how ads work. It is important to have some experience as you are dealing with money. 

 

Optimization for Google Ads:

 

As mentioned earlier, it takes time to get an ROI. 

 

For example: when your ad runs for a considerable amount of time, you start getting recommendations. Apply those that align with your goal.

 

Make sure your ad is well-structured. It helps in easy management of your ad account. Also, it helps in syncing the ads and ad group as well as possible. 

 

Keep changing the targeting places as per the results you get. 

 

Optimize for the days and time during which your ad performs well.

 

Change your bidding strategies. You can also optimize your bid amount for specific devices like mobiles. 

 

Try to change the ad copies, like headlines. 

 

Do A/B testing with landing pages.

 

A/B Testing of Landing page:

 

Landing pages are standalone pages created specifically for an advertising campaign. 

 

Once the users click on your ad, this is the page where they “land”.

 

A/B testing is a way to optimize where you compare two different models of a landing page and see which one works better. 

 

Good A/B testing is when you just change one element and see how the slight change brings better results.

When to go with SEO?

 

Less Budget:

 

If you have just started or don’t have good money in hand, go for SEO. rather than exhausting your budget too soon, it will be better to use it wisely. 

 

Sure, you will still have to spend money! 

 

That includes a content writer for producing good content, a graphic designer for designing good images and infographics, a person with marketing skills to promote online, and much more. 

 

But, SEO can still set the process going. You will have a wider time window to be in the run than PPC. 

 

Time Consuming:

 

There’s no doubt that SEO is time-consuming. 

 

SEO is not an instant process.

 

According to data, even when your industry has less competitive keywords, it will take at least 6 months for you to rank. 

 

As SEO produces long-term results, it asks for patience and persistent hard work. 

 

Writing Skills: 

 

As it’s said, “content is the king”. A major part of SEO includes producing authentic and valuable content. With so many blogs getting indexed by Google every day, you can understand the competition! 

 

But there’s always a scope for improvement! If you can come up with more researched and better content, you’d be able to easily outrank them. 

 

So, if you plan to do SEO, you must be good at writing content. 

 

Building links:

 

Link building is one of the most crucial and toughest parts of doing SEO. to increase the visibility of your business and drive more traffic, it is important to be good at bagging links.

When to do both SEO and PPC?

 

SEO and PPC shouldn’t be seen as two separate things but together they help in increasing the visibility of your business. 

 

There is nothing like driving traffic from both paid ads and organic results. But, it’s not as easy as it sounds. 

Let us discover the pre-requisites: 

 

Team:

 

To handle both SEO and PPC can not be a single person’s job. You need an entire team to handle various tasks within each of these categories. 

 

For example, you need a good writer to produce content, a graphic designer for designing images, a social media expert to handle social media accounts, a good copywriter for writing ad copies, a data analyst to analyze the data from ads, and SEO, etc. 

 

Budget: 

 

As you know, SEO is nowhere close to free. PPC, on the other hand, is money-driven. 

 

So to leverage both forms of marketing, you need to have enough money to continuously run PPC campaigns and spend on SEO. 

 

Skills: 

 

If you are a startup, you should not experiment a lot. Go for both SEO and PPC only when you have some experience and are confident enough to handle both places. 

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