man searching on laptop

SEM, SEO, PPC, Keywords, Cost per click, for the uninitiated these terms are understandably confusing. It’s little wonder there is more than a small amount of confusion around the effective promotion of websites, particularly when in today’s marketplace having an effective web presence can be the difference between the business haves and the have-nots.

So what is SEM and what is SEO, are they the same thing and that one is better? SEO or Search Engine Optimisation refers to the tailoring of a website to increase the score or rank given to it by the various search engines. This will result in the website appearing in a prominent position, on the first page for key search terms.

This ranking is referred to as an organic ranking. Good SEO is crucial for any website to perform well, however with all of the Search Engines now actively adjusting the algorithms that are used to rank sites in an attempt to ensure the best results possible for the user.

SEO is fast becoming a fragile space to be banking on. SEM or Search Engine Marketing refers to the promotion of a website via paid advertising. The term PPC or Pay Per Click describes the process in which advertising space is bid upon by advertisers, allowing them the opportunity to be presented in prominent positions on Search Engines.

To be presented on such search engines is, in essence, free and only once an advertisement is clicked upon is there a cost involved. This type of advertising has quickly become an extremely cost-effective strategy for many small to medium business’ as it provides the opportunity to be presented to a very targeted market, in fact, it allows business’ to be presented to people already looking for their service or industry.

As far as which of these options is the best. I could sincerely say that SEO and SEM work most effectively when used in conjunction with each other. There is lots of data around that clearly points to this fact. Will a high organic ranking drive lead to your business?

Absolutely. Will that same highly ranked site, when used in conjunction with a Pay Per Click campaign deliver even more highly qualified leads to your business? It has been proven to be the case time and time again! Then there is the obvious case when your site simply has not achieved a prominent organic position, rectifying this situation is not an overnight fix. Being able to appear instantly for the specific search terms that are relevant to your industry could well be the boost to your bottom line that has been lacking.