Technological advances and the advent of the world wide web has changed the way humans communicate. Rather than relying on the limited options available to us within driving distance, we seek out information online. This change in communication is why an understanding of SEO vs SEM (PPC- Paid Search) or paid search is essential to anyone who has (or is thinking of starting) a business.

Having an in-depth knowledge of these key phrases is only part of the process. Proper implementation is crucial to the overall profitability of the organization and its sustainability in the digital market of today.

Let’s take a look at what each acronym stands for and how they apply to your business digital marketing strategy.

SEO vs SEM (PPC- Paid Search): What Is the Difference?

Every business has or should have an Internet marketing strategy in place, long before they open their doors for business. This marketing plan should cover every area where your target demographic is placing its attention.

Before the age of the internet, advertising was a very physical (and rather expensive) part of business ownership. For proper advertising, you had to make sure your name was everywhere.

These methods, while successful, were limited and costly. From the classifieds to the cloud, the evolution of communication has changed the way we do business and digital marketing on search engines like Google ( including SEO and SEM ) is now at the forefront of any successful company.

Search Engine Optimization ( SEO) Definition

Just like any well-developed plan, search engine optimization or SEO optimization is just one path on the roadmap of search engine marketing. Paid searches are an incredible asset to any strategy; however, you need more than just paid advertising to get you to the top.

so, what is SEO? Search engine optimization (SEO) is the act of modifying your website and online content to organically boost your ranking in search engines like Google and Bing. The algorithms used by search engines are constantly changing and SEO is the method by which companies are able to keep up with these ever-changing demands.

There are three arms of SEO: content marketing, SEO Link building and the On-page SEO optimization of website data. Content marketing deals with the type of content that is placed on your website, Linkbuilding refers to off-page SEO through backlinks to your website, while the on-page optimization of analytics data involves meta titles, meta tags, website speed, and other search engine crawler readable data.

Search Engine Marketing ( SEM)/PPC Definition

When a potential consumer has a question regarding a product or service, the first thing they do is go online, place a few keywords into a search engine, and click on whatever links the search engine kicks back. The point of SEM/PPC ( Pay Per Click / Paid Search marketing) is to ensure that your ads/ website links appear in front of your target audience and for you to get charged when hey actually interact/click on your ads.

Simply speaking SEM/PPC is an online advertising effort on the part of your company to use paid promotions to put your company in front of potential customers.

There are many PPC marketing formats that you can use, including the following:

  • Text ads
  • Video ads
  • Image ads
  • Social media ads
  • Remarketing ads

These advertising methods are used on a myriad of platforms, such as Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others.

Launching a PPC ad campaign can be the first tactic in your arsenal of SEM strategies. Targeting potential consumers based on geography or industry can help you pinpoint those who are more likely to make a purchase.

Keywords are at the heart of PPC, and a bid strategy is what keeps them going. The keywords used in your ad campaign are what help connect your ad to a particular search. Your bid is what helps get that ad in front of the potential consumer.

Now that we know the difference, let’s take a look at how to optimize your website for SEO vs SEM/PPC marketing.

Your Website SEO Optimization

Two categories affect your website when it comes to search engine ranking: on-page factors and off-page factors.

On-Page SEO Factors

On-Page Factors are items that are under your control and can help your website to become more search engine friendly. Let’s take a look at what you can do to help boost your on-page SEO.

SEO Content Marketing Is Key

No matter what you do, if the material that is displayed on your website is not written and presented in a useful way, you will have a difficult time ranking your site on SERPs ( Search Engine Result Pages) Organically. You must provide more than just a product or service. You must also provide value.

If you are not updating your website content regularly, most search engines will minimize the crawling of your website and assume you contribute little to no value to the consumer. So, if it’s been a hot minute since you’ve updated your website, relevant content creation would be the first place to start.

Structuring the URL on your Webpages

On your website, every page and link will have a URL. When you create the URL on the backend, make sure that you are using keywords that are common in your industry within the URL.

Title Tags of your Website Pages Mater

Every web page that you have on your business website needs to have a title tag. These tags are used when defining the title of the search listing. Keep it short and sweet, and always include keywords that you are trying to rank for without over doing it.

Check your Keyword Density

This metric helps to identify how much a particular keyword appears on your page. You want to go for a ranking of 1.25-1.5 for true optimization.

Website XML Sitemap

An often overlooked portion of the website, the XML sitemap, is crucial in helping search engine bots to index the pages on your website. Be sure to have this as it makes it much easier to rank for your desired keywords.

CSS Validation

This factor helps ensure that your website runs free of bugs that could cause needless crashes and frustrated consumers.

Image Alt Tags

When using images on your web page, always make sure to label them with keywords pertaining to your product or services.

Internal backLinks

You should always strive to link other articles that are relevant to each other within the content itself. Not in a way that could be perceived as spam, but in a way that provides value to the client. for example, here is an internal backlink to our On-page optimization services.

Off-Page SEO Factors

Off-Page Factors include items that pertain to tactics not necessarily controlled by you or done on your website. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important ones.

SEO Link Building / Backlinks

Backlinks from quality websites are a great way to boost your authority in your industry. The more other reputable webpages link back to you, the higher your domain authority and the higher you would rank on SERPs.

To accomplish this, you will need to enlist the help of multiple SEO backlink building services like Guest posting on other websites, creating citations on relevant directories and many more that you can read up on in our Ultimate Guide to SEO backlinks. Another quick way to get this accomplished is to include your website into your signature when posting on forums. Each time you post that link is listed on another website, thus helping with promotion.

Keep it relevant. Link schemes and other tactics are banned by Google guidelines. Optimizing your site for SEO is one thing, but trying to use shady tactics that are the SEO equivalent of get-rich-quick schemes will only hurt you in the long run.