Search Engine Optimization (AKA SEO) versus Search Engine Marketing (non-SEO because technically SEO is part of SEM) is a common debate among internet marketers.
I personally think that the data shows one to be much better for most businesses under most circumstances.
Learn more by watching this video:
Hi, this video is about SEO versus SEM, really non-SEO SEM, because SEO is technically part of SEM. A lot of times people though mean pay-per-click or Google AdWords when they say SEM. What's the difference and, which is better for your business? Those are the questions I'm going to try to answer in this video, so let's get to it.
So, what is SEO? It's search engine optimization. Really, it's often it's called organic SEO, and that means, sort of ranking without paying Google to rank. So, let's go here, let's go to google.com, and let's try something. I searched best basketball shoes, just as an example. Anything you hear or see that's sponsored, this is going to be SEM or pay-per-click. Google AdWords right here. This is SEO. This is actually … You don't see this in a lot of search results. Some people call this position zero. Other people call it … There's another name for it, but … and down here, this is something you don't always see, as well. But, typically when people will refer to SEO, they're going to mean down here. This is not an ad. This nicershoes.com is not paying Google, and all of these right here, this is also SEO, this could be part of video SEO. More SEO, more SEO. Sometimes, there are ads down at the bottom that are a part of SEM or pay-per-click.
Here's another example, personal injury lawyer, Dallas. This is a little bit more standard, what you're going to expect to see in search results. That one was pretty abnormal, so I wanted to do another one. So, you see the ads here, this is pay-per-click. These people are paying. They're paying per click. If I click on this, they'll be charged, I don't know, 50 bucks for that click. Here is the maps. You'll see this for localized searches. This is still part of organic SEO, although I consider it to be kind of non-regular organic, or local organic. Then, right down here you have the regular organic, or just at the SEO. This is still part of SEO. A lot of times you also have ads … See, you have ads down here at the bottom. This is also part of the pay-per-click.
What are the pros of SEO? So, overall SEO is more profitable. There's more traffic available to it. Only about 15% of people within the search results, ever click on ads. Some people never … Most people never, ever click on ads. Okay, so there's more traffic available. You can get exponential growth, like you can put in “x” amount of work or resources repeatedly over time, and your growth gets exponential.
One of the downsides of SEO is that it does … It is a little bit riskier, and it does take longer than, like a pay-per-click campaign would be. You could put a lot of work into what you think should be done for SEO, and get nothing out of it, even like at 6 to 12 months later. That happens all the time. Well, with pay-per-click, if you don't get the click, you don't pay Google anything. Now, that doesn't mean that the click is going to be valuable to you, but it's a little bit … It's less risky to do the SEM non-SEO.
What are some of the pros of non-SEO SEM? That would be, it's faster. I could put up an ad today, and get traffic today. It's more certain. Now, there is some click fraud that goes on, and so just because you're paying for the visitor, doesn't mean it's really the kind of person that you wanted, or maybe you still did some incorrect research upfront, so you maybe you set it up wrong. So, there's still some risk there, but it's less. The cons are that this is more expensive, and I think for a lot of markets, it's getting more expensive over time. As SEO has gotten more difficult, people have moved from SEO to SEM. There's less traffic. You can't really get exponential growth, because as you pay … In order to get more traffic, you need to pay more. So essentially, in order to get exponential growth, you'd have to exponentially pay more. Now, if you're able to put in a dollar into traffic, and get out two dollars, well then exponential growth is definitely possible.
So, the verdict. What do I think is best, and what is best for your business? Now, for your business, if you need traffic right away, then maybe pay-per-click is best for you. If you have a product or service that you're not really sure how your market is going to react to, or if there is even a need for it, then pay-per-click makes sense, because it's a lot less work to set up, and it's lower risk.
On the other hand, I like SEO a lot more. I think it's a lot better. I think it is much more profitable, and if you go about it the right way, then you are going to be able to make a whole lot more money. There's a lot more traffic available to it. There's a lot more … It scales a lot better. Also, one of those things with SEO, is that the better you do at it … the more you've done SEO, the easier the next set of SEO becomes. So, essentially the longer you do it right and the more money you put into it, the money actually goes further and further, as you go further and further into the project.
And so, well SEM … that's sort of similar, not exactly true. It's essentially kind of flat. Maybe your ability to convert your visitors becomes better, but that's also true for SEO. So, I personally like SEO. I made a way more money with SEO than SEM. I personally prefer it. At the same time, there are some parts of pay-per-click, where it does make sense. And, it's not also you do pay-per-click or SEO. You can do them both. If pay-per-click is profitable for you, then you might as well do it. But, SEO I think, should definitely be a huge part of your plan, if you want a long-term, good high quality, highly profitable business plan, for marketing your businesses on the internet.
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