There’s a common misconception that websites are like pet rocks – once you get it, the “work” is done, and it doesn’t need food or water to continue or flourish. At PAVLOV, we like to refer to websites as pet goldfish – something that needs TLC and ongoing nourishment in order to thrive and perform.
Although user experience and design are undoubtedly important, what’s likely even more important is where your website ranks when people are searching for it (or for the goods or services you provide). And we all know that NO ONE visits the second page on a Google search.
With all this competition for first place, we have two recommendations to ensure your website makes it in front of consumers: search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). To make things complicated, the terms themselves are often used interchangeably – even in marketing! So, what’s the difference between SEO and SEM?
While the goal of both is to drive traffic to your website; the difference is how.
What is SEM?
SEM refers to driving traffic to your website through paid advertising. This is done through a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, which includes paying for ads on search engine results pages (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.).
Techniques involved in SEM include generating, running and constantly optimizing the keywords list, account structure, and copy to make sure you’re serving the most relevant ad possible. With PPC ads, you’re only charged when a user clicks the ad to arrive at your website.
Highlights of SEM
- Changes are almost instant
- High-targeting capabilities such as profiling, geotargeting and retargeting
- Complete message control
What is SEO?
SEO helps improve your organic (unpaid) visibility and ranking to drive traffic to your website. A large part of SEO includes setting your website up properly, but tech-savvy updates and optimization are a must in order to stay high in organic search rankings.
A good search ranking requires constant attention and strategizing of the tech-savvy. They will ensure tools are up to date, check the techy stuff (i.e. such as if crawlers are permitted to read your site), make sure new content is readable and has proper tags, check alt tags, add meta descriptions, and more. All of these small but important updates/cross-checks are imperative in order to maintain your rank on the first page of Google.
Highlights of SEO
- Seen as more reliable
- No usage cost for traffic, but requires an experienced SEO specialist
- While you can select the message you prefer users to see, Google has the ultimate decision
Despite the differences, there’s no doubt both SEO and SEM require ongoing maintenance, almost daily attention, and continuous optimization. As the internet continues to change, websites are no launch-and-forget missile in your arsenal of marketing tactics. To keep your goldfish alive, you have to feed it, change the water and clean the tank every now and then. Websites are no exception.
Hiring an agency to assist with SEO and SEM keeps your website at the top of consumers’ search list and saves you a huge headache. Interested in learning how PAVLOV can help keep your website alive? Contact our digital team at firstname.lastname@example.org.