SEM versus SEO - Rob Glennie Consulting

SEM versus SEO

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) vs. SEO (search engine optimisation)

Ideally you would want your website to be permanently present on the top of the first page of Google and other search engines for all the relevant keywords so that you could receive masses of free traffic to your website, but is that really possible?

Search engine experts used to optimize a webpage for a combination of more than 20 keywords as it was the right way to promote a website through the search engines. But today any smart search engine marketer would only promote a webpage for 1-3 keywords knowing that search engines no longer allow them to promote a website for so many keywords as they want to make money by their paid search models. So if you want to bring more traffic to your website for a wider range of keywords you may need to allocate a percentage of your marketing budget to PPC campaigns.

When we talk about PPC and it’s effectiveness to website owners whose websites rank well on top of Google’s organic search page they argue that there is no need for them to spend money on paid search. Well, they have a point, they are enjoying free traffic, but what they fail to understand or choose to ignore is the fact that search engines change their algorithms without prior notice. They can one day wake up and see their website has gone from page one to page five for the same keywords. We still remember how Google’s “panda update” massacred so many websites and how many online businesses lost significant amounts of money or went out of business. However if a website that ranks well on organic search, starts running PPC campaigns to be also present as a sponsored link, it will be always be present even in case of sudden algorithm change and rank drop within the organic search frame.

As for new websites, they can not appear on the first page over night. It takes a new website a long time to earn the trust of search engines. It takes a new website time to build quality back links and people to know about them and recommend them to others via blogs and forums. However any new website can make be promoted by PPC campaigns and be present on the first page of Google and other search engines within a few minutes.

Search engines usually ignore any pages further than 3 clicks away from a website’s first page and don’t index them, that’s why the products on those pages never appear on organic search results. Using PPC campaigns you can directly promote those URLs and pages and brings quality traffic to them.

Having PPC (pay per click) campaigns you can attract more traffic to your website by using a wider variety of keywords for the same product or service, meaning more people (who use different keywords to find a product or service) may find your link.

You can decide where your PPC ads to appear, you want them to rotate around the first page? You want them only on the top or the middle of the first page? You want them to appear on the second page as well? Have in mind the fact that being on the top of the first page and only there does not guarantee quality traffic leading to sales. Not everyone looking for the product you have looks at the first link on the fist page once their search query gets results.

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