I have had questions concerning what is better. “Paul, do you think that I should put more resources into SEO or SEM?” My answer is, “Well both are important and I’ll explain why.”
First off, lets define Search Engine Marketing. Get ready to get hit with some acronyms. SEM is marketing that is specific to getting visibility on a search engine through methods such as paid placement/inclusion on SERP’S (Search Engine Results Pages), and organically through Search Engine Optimization. FYI, unpaid results on a SERP are known as organic search results. Search Engine Optimization deals specifically with optimizing a website through key words and structure. Essentially, SEO can be viewed as a part of a more broad SEM strategy, however, some sources define SEM as being specific to only paid search listings. Regardless of whether you want to categorize it as being either independent, or a subset, they are both important.
Did that get your tail spinning? Lets try and put all of this jargon into a meaningful strategy to get your website going the direction that you want it to!
Starting an SEM campaign is a perfect idea to embark on after creating and/or optimizing your website. Think about it….you have just invested time and money in an effort to get better brand recognition and meaningful online traffic. Why not drive more traffic to your site now through a pay per click strategy? Since search engines such as Google consider it a plus to have lots of traffic, having a pay per click campaign is a great way to immediately boost traffic, which in turn will assist in making your SEO campaign more effective.
This is exactly why we tell clients that if they want to invest in SEO, then they should consider a pay per click SEM strategy such as Google AdWords or a Bing/Yahoo campaign as a compliment. Furthermore, the results are measurable so that you can learn from your campaign. Search engines consider it a plus to have lots of traffic and having a pay per click campaign will provide a boost in website traffic.
Lets zone in on Pay Per Click Advertising. These text only ads will come up on SERPS based on the keywords that are being typed in, and you get to control how much you want to pay. Individual clicks can range from $1 to $54.91 depending on how much demand there is for those key words. You may be wondering what word could possibly be worth more than $50 per click. The answer is “Insurance”. (You can check out this awesome infographic on the 50 most expensive adwords http://www.wordstream.com/articles/most-expensive-keywords) Although this can get costly on some keywords, the ads can be turned off in a moments notice to be within the set budget. The greatness of this advertising lies in the fact that you are only spending money on meaningful impressions that are going to your site. The price of keywords you choose has to make sense based on what it is your business is selling. There’s no sense in paying $2 per click for a keyword if you are in the business of selling a widget for $3.
There are some noteworthy statistics of paid (non organic) vs non paid (organic search results) to take into consideration when formulating your strategy. Firstly, 94% of total clicks are on non-paid organic search results. On the other hand, paid searches offer immediate traffic to the website and boast a 35% higher conversion rate for e-commerce websites.
In my opinion, the worst thing you can do is invest money in a paid SEM pay per click campaign with a poor website that needs to be laid out better. After all, you want to avoid users clicking on your website, only to not be happy with what they see and fail to find the information that they need.
Here are 5 Tips To Follow When Rolling Out a Website Strategy:
1) Focus on the nuts and bolts of your website. Make the content great, have some professional graphic design implemented.
2) Invest in an ongoing SEO strategy.
3) Boost your social media presence.
4) After steps one and two and three are taken care of, consider allocating a budget towards a PPC campaign.
5) This should be your favorite step. Sit back, and measure the results of a tried and proven, winning strategy.