Which Option is Best: SEO or SEM?

Many people are not sure what the difference between SEO and SEM are. For starters, SEO is a long-term option while SEM can be up and running quickly. SEM is a paid search option, while SEO rarely is. That being said, here is a summary from Top Spot SEM of the various advantages for both.

Advantages of SEO

  • 80% of clicks are on natural results, 20% of clicks are on sponsored links.
  • SEO is effective in terms of cost since people do not pay the search engines in order to be positioned.
  • Generates a long-term option to remain visible without paying plenty (like one would with SEM).
  • The costs associated with SEO are fixed and independent of click rates.
  • The cost per click decreases after the initial cost of implementation and there is a low cost of adjustments.
  • Visitors using SEO have a higher conversion rate because they are natural results, which means they provided results after a certain keyword was entered, unlike paid results (SEM).

Benefits of paid search (SEM)

  • Traffic, positioning, returns and costs are more stable and predictable than SEO. It is easier to calculate a return on investment, while SEO takes more time to be assessed.
  • It is “simpler” to achieve a high spot on search engines without using a ton of money (like competitors usually do). SEO requires more time, more patience and more technical experience to optimize a site (online search) or link (offline criteria), which can take weeks to implement and achieve results.
  • SEM is faster, which means that paid links (PPC) appear in a few hours.
  • It is flexible and campaigns, and their costs, may be changed or stopped quickly following the results. It often takes weeks or months to have interesting SEO results.
  • This system is accompanied by certain rules that are designed to control the conversion rate and help websites reach an acceptable cost per sale. However, a manual intervention and a certain level of technicality are necessary to obtain good results on various engines.

In all cases, the use of SEO is justified to increase traffic, prospects, and sales. However, individuals must keep in mind that SEM can do the same – faster. If your site has been online for several years and has experienced some success without an SEO campaign, it is likely that it still has good SEO potential. With some adjustments, results should arrive quickly.