SEO vs SEM vs PPC: What’s Best for Your Business?
Why Digital Marketing?
Have you Googled yourself lately? How do you rank when you search for those ever-important keywords that define your business? It doesn’t matter how amazing your company, services, or products are, your business will never be a success if no one knows about it—and the vast majority of people start their search online using a search engine such as Google. While different analyses turn up slightly different results on the importance of digital marketing, one thing is clear, if your company isn’t on page one of search engine ranking pages (SERPs), there’s less than a one percent chance that someone will click on your website. And over 30 percent of clicks will go to whichever site is number one on that first page. With that in mind, your digital marketing plan is critical to your success. There is no one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy—and your strategy team should be able to help you determine what’s best for your business and goals. Let’s break down a few of the more common terms you’ll hear when it comes to digital marketing and how they may be helpful to you. Based on your specific goals and budget, you may want to incorporate all of them into your overall strategy or pick and choose.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is incredibly complex and ever-changing. Just as you think you’ve got it all figured out, algorithms change, and so does your strategy. Many businesses still think that populating their websites with some important keywords will do the trick—and that absolutely may have been the case in 1998, at the advent of Google search. But ensuring top search rankings is now a multi-faceted, ongoing, and key part of your overall marketing strategy incorporating (among other things):
- Technical SEO—all the technical aspects of your site that make it more visible in searches, including site architecture and speed, sitemaps, and link structure
- Off-Page—elements off your site that build its popularity and ranking, including link building, reviews, and guest posting
- Content Optimization—everything on your page that keeps it at the top of SERPs, including content, keywords, and usability
Using a professional digital marketing agency like Globe Runner ensures that you’re constantly getting the best results without falling into common errors and traps, such as not having a sitemap, lack of internal links, or focusing on the wrong traffic or keywords.
PPC is exactly what it sounds like and is an important part of directing traffic to your site. In the simplest of terms, PPC is the placement of digital advertisements for which you pay each time the ad is clicked on. There are multiple ways that PPC advertising works including:
- Flat-rate—paying a flat fee for each click
- Bid-based—placing a bid for an advertising space (highest amount they’re willing to pay) and each time a user triggers the ad slot, an automated auction occurs and the winner gets the ad slot.
While there are many strategies for this type of bid-based PPC, two of the most common are:
- Cost Per Click (CPC)—sets a cost per click that you are not willing to go over
- Return On Ad (ROA)—sets a target return on conversion (set as a percentage, e.g., if you are trying to make 2 dollars for every dollar you spend on advertising, your target ROA is 200%)
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM and PPC are both paid methods of increasing your SERP placement. The main difference is that SEM focuses specifically on marketing through search engines. PPC can fall under SEM, for instance, if you purchase a PPC ad on Google search, that’s also SEM.
With all aspects of digital marketing, the best results come from bringing in the experts. Globe Runner is a Google Partner, meaning that multiple digital marketing experts are certified in Google AdWords and they continuously meet Google’s performance standards. That technical expertise is a necessity, but while understanding all the technical ins and outs of digital marketing and SERPs is absolutely critical to your digital marketing success, the creative aspects of digital marketing are just as important. That’s why Globe Runner’s team includes experienced copywriters and visual designers to ensure that the creative aspects of your marketing are as extraordinary as your business is.
What is the difference between PPC and SEO?
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are both strategies used to drive traffic to your website and boost your online presence and sales. SEO relies on expert optimization of your website (as well as off-page strategies) to drive organic traffic by ensuring your website ranks high up in search engine results. PPC drives traffic to your website through digital ads that you pay a publisher a fee to each time your ad is clicked on. While, technically, SEO is the “free” option, optimizing your website to drive organic traffic to it takes incredible knowledge and expertise, as well as taking time—over months—for the optimization to start showing results.
What is the difference between SEO and SEM?
While Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are often used interchangeably (and SEO is still sometimes considered a part of SEM), they are two different sides of the search engine results coin. At the most basic level, SEO uses organic methods to increase your search engine results ranking and SEM uses paid methods.
Is SEO part of performance marketing?
Performance marketing is an umbrella term that includes any strategy in which advertisers or marketing companies are paid based on performance—such as a click, sale, impression, etc. While, technically, SEO does not fall under that umbrella since it is organic, it is an integral part of your overall digital marketing strategy, and many experts consider it to be a part of a performance marketing strategy.
How do you rank on Google?
The answer to that question is not only complex, but it changes frequently. Search engines base their results on algorithms that are stringently tested and updated on a regular basis. In Google, search engine results incorporate many different factors including relevance, keywords, page quality, E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness), page usability, and context.