In recent years, digital marketing has become a powerful strategy contributing to the success and online reputation of small businesses. It has proven to be a better way to reaching out to consumers – especially with SEO and SEM. Research by Google shows that 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local businesses, and people who searched for local businesses are more likely to become customers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) seem to be the two “giant” strategies of digital marketing. And a combination of these two methods can be beneficial in many ways – from creating content to your target customers to measuring your feedbacks from local ads.

Contrary to the claim of many, SEO and SEM are not entirely the same thing. However, a combination of the two may help you achieve your aim – increasing your visibility in search engines result pages (SERPs).

Well, let’s discuss the difference between SEO and SEM. Shall we?

SEO vs SEM: Which is Better for Small Business

What is the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

To be exact, the difference between these two is simply that SEO is part of Search Engine Marketing. SEM deals strictly with paid adverts; I mean getting traffic through paid ads. SEO, on the other hand, is to organic results below the ads. YES, simple as that!

The intention of SEO is directly to make 40% of your website rank high in SERPs by utilizing keywords pertaining to your business. SEM aims to directly ‘serve’ your business to potential customers.

To fully understand the comparison between SEO and SEM and to which one is better for your small business, it’s important, to begin with, the definition of SEO.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is basically the process of increasing both quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic SERPs.

SEO is crucial because an optimized website makes it as easy as possible for search engine crawlers, Google for example, to index your content. What this means for your local small business is that people or potential customers can find your website easily. Meaning, it increases your visibility and leads generation. Ultimately, SEO makes your website rank higher in the SERPs, than your competitors’.

How then can SEO benefit Your Small Business?

Optimizing your website for search engines benefits you in the following ways:

  • Allows you connect better with your customer
  • Increases visibility on your brand
  • Customer focused online presence
  • Extended reach to new markets and insight into new & existing customers

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing describes an act of incorporating various types of paid search advertising in order to maximize exposure of a website within the SERPs. SEM may include SEO, and other techniques including paid campaigns (listings) such as Google ads, pay-per-click marketing, and many more.

Unlike SEO, SEM may not require much work as you can directly pay for a presence within search result pages BUT it does require some extra special knowledge and tools. SEM is effective to rank your small business as the ads are usually displayed at the forefront of your potential customers, rather than ranking the whole page of your website. Also, SEM can be specific as your business will be directed to the most valuable audience based on the location of a user, their needs, or interests.

The uniqueness of SEM is that when it’s done well – as it can be missed – it will boost your services just to the top. Thereby, making your small business more visible and ultimately guarantees sales IF you have what potential customers are looking for.

How then can SEM benefit Your Small Business?

SEM can positively boost your small business’ abilities in the following ways:

  • Targeting a specific audience via targeted advertising
  • Conversion tracking is possible
  • Ongoing exposure and continuous Investment in the success of your small business – even after your SEM campaign expires.

Need help building your SEO and SEM strategies?

Now that you’ve an insight into how SEO and SEM can help your small business grow, it’s high time you started implementing these marketing tools.

If you have any questions, consult your local Techomatic Web Services experts today to learn how you can master search engine marketing. Give us a call on 012 74 615 959 to leverage the opportunities of SEO and SEM to grow your small business even further.

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