Over 90% of all internet experiences start with a visit to Google, Yahoo, Bing, or another search engine. Open up a browser on your computer or mobile device. What’s the default homepage? If you want customers to be able to easily discover your website, it’s going to take more than savvy SEO strategies and quality website content. Is organic content enough-or do you need to invest in paid search marketing? Let’s take a look!
Organic SEO vs. Paid SEM
The difference between SEO and SEM is simple. Search engine optimization focuses on optimizing website content to increase organic web traffic from search engines, whereas search engine marketing aims to increase web traffic from both organic and paid search results. In other words, SEM makes it possible to improve your search engine rankings without overhauling your website.
But is that a good idea?
If the overall goal of your SEM campaign is to garner more conversions, simply paying to ensure your listing gets seen more won’t guarantee more people will buy your product. An effective SEM ad includes relevant keywords, your brand’s unique value proposition, and a compelling call-to-action. If any of the three aren’t met, you’re not providing your customers an incentive to buy.
When you search a particular query, the first page of results is broken down into two kinds of results: paid and organic. Organic ads rank more highly because the content on the linked page has been deemed as highly relevant to the search query. However, if the site continually receives a lot of bounces and low conversion numbers, search engines may lower its ranking. That’s why the best course of action may be a combination of SEO and SEM.
Combining Organic SEO and Paid Search Marketing
For particularly competitive, high-volume keywords, paid search ads can drastically increase your reach and impressions. That’s particularly important if a lot of your customers are in the interest and desire stages of the customer journey-or ready to take action. However, you need to make sure you’re focusing on the most important keywords.
It can help to think like your customers. If you were looking for your product or service, what would you search? Type in some keywords into Google and see what suggestions come up. Try to incorporate those keywords not only in your SEM strategy but in your on-page SEO strategy as well. The more you provide relevant, helpful content, the better search engines will rank your page.
Unfortunately, Google’s algorithm for ranking search engine results pages is too complex to accurately pinpoint how to make your page excel. However, a more efficient page will catch on to those algorithms. Basically, as more people spend more time on your site, Google will notice and associate your page with those relevant keywords. When that happens, your SEO strategy has been fully optimized.
Do You Need Paid Search Marketing?
Do big brands need to bid on their own brand names as keywords? It depends on the industry. While customers are just as likely to type “Amazon” or “eBay” into their URL bar as to click a link for those sites on a search engine, the same can’t be said for smaller, lesser-known brands. As such, your level of investment in search engine marketing should hinge upon where your business stands in the marketplace.
Digital marketing is always changing, and there are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions to any digital strategy. One company might benefit from a robust SEM strategy while another might be wasting its budget. To really gain insight into how search engines can improve your market, look at the KPIs. SEM can help you gain more impressions and clicks-but it can’t improve your conversion rate.
Put simply, if you have a quality SEO strategy but aren’t getting the results you want, paid search marketing might be the answer.