How SEO and SEM Can Be a Recipe for Success
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website for search engines. Essentially, you’re demonstrating that your website is both authoritative, valuable and trustworthy. This is a way of getting your website to rank on Google (and other search engines) organically for certain keywords.
Meanwhile, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the paid alternative – advertising, if you will. This is where you would pay Google Adwords, for instance, to have your ad displayed with organic results for certain keywords on Google’s Search results for a particular keyword/keyphrase.
Everyone uses SEO as a way to improve their rankings and increase their traffic. Similarly, SEM can increase a website's traffic as well. Websites that organically rank high think that paying for ads on SERP or bidding for brand keywords is a waste of their money and will only hurt their free traffic.
This is not entirely true. In fact, using both SEO and SEM can be a recipe for success. While SEO or SEM alone may get you good traffic, if you implement both on your website, or business, you will get even better results.
The idea is that using SEO and SEM together will give you better results because instead of one visitor from each, you can get 3 from both. SEO on its own is great. SEM on its own is also great. There are also strategies of using SEM to rank for keywords that you’re not yet ranking for organically that can posture your organization for success. However, even after your website begins to organically rank for a keyword, using SEM together with your SEO efforts can prove to be invaluable – and you can bet your competition likely isn’t employing this strategy, which gives you an even bigger leg up.
How SEO & SEM Work Together
Ranking high and getting free traffic is great but while SEO can increase your organic traffic, this traffic does not always result in sales. Additionally, the number of visitors you get from SEO will only increase with SEM, even though SEM may eat up some of your free organic traffic.
More importantly, SEM will get you more traffic that converts. This means that not only is implementing SEO and SEM together increasing your overall traffic, but it is also actively increasing your sales.
There is no clear indication as to why this happens but we assume that when a user searches for a query and sees both, organic and paid results of the same website, they trust them more. This makes it much easier for them to click through and even purchase your products or services.
Testing (At Your Own Risk)
If you utilize both, SEO and SEM for your website, you can test this theory yourself. Let's say you cut off your SEM for a set period of time - you may think that your organic traffic will replace the SEM traffic to a large degree but this does not happen.
Your organic results can make up for some of the SEM traffic but never the full amount. Your overall traffic takes a hit and your sales take an even worse hit. You can then bring SEM back and you will notice that SEM will eat up some of your free organic traffic but increase overall traffic and sales.
Using both SEO and SEM can demonstrate that these are the results that show up when such instances occur. It reveals that while SEO and SEM alone can work perfectly well, together, they work incrementally better.
SEM may steal your free traffic but it will drive more traffic and sales than SEO alone ever can. This validates the hypothesis that investing in keywords and paid ads even when you organically rank high is a good investment to drive traffic and sales even higher.