What is SEO: SEO Definition
SEO helps you navigate the stormy sea that is the Internet market place and find a safe harbour at Google’s privileged docks.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the basic building block of your digital marketing platform. SEO connects your eCommerce site to Google by bringing your content front and center — to the forefront of search results.
SEO is the organic way of increasing traffic to your site by raising its search rankings and creating openings that can be converted into sales.
SEO incorporates increasing the search engine weightage of your eCommerce website by adding keywords and search-friendly content. Optimized content and keywords illuminate your business and make it stand out like a beacon.
Components of effective SEO
• Exclusive and discriminating content. Google’s search algorithm measures content for its importance to the customer.
• Relevance to brand and customer. Content will rank if it is well researched and matches audience interests and the product profile correctly.
• Validation through data. Credibility is added to the content when it is backed up by data and figures. Google will select content which incorporates data as evidence.
• FAQs matter. Address all the issues that the audience will raise and issues that they haven’t thought of but are bound to at some point. Hot button and repeatedly raised issues must be answered preemptively and in detail.
• Testimonials. Customer reviews are important to all shoppers. Ratings and reviews of products are diligently searched and read by the audience.
• All these components add up to backlinks that will feature prominently in search results.
What Is SEM: SEM Definition
Search engine marketing (SEM) is the promotion of eCommerce websites by using pay per click (PPC) or advertisements. Clients pay Google to place their products and content on top of the search results page.
The aim is to be seen by the customer directly on accessing the page. This opens the door to an opportunity for a click through to the advertiser’s site but in any event, reminds users of the site’s availability.
Search engine marketing is an assured route to getting your business to the top of the search engine results page.
What Components Does SEM Include
SEM comprises paid search which is pay per click and sponsored content.
Paid search gets placed beside or just below sponsored content. It is above featured snippets and gets pride of place above organic results. The whole paid concept including ADs and sponsored content are part of Google’s main revenue system called Google Ads.
Sponsored content is always near the top or on top of the page. This content features images of generic products that are linked to a specific search.
What Is the Main Difference Between SEO and SEM?
Where SEO and SEM differ greatly and critically is the time required to delivered results.
The comparison between SEO and SEM is inevitable. What is most evident is that SEO takes time to gain traction with customers and clients. Developing and deploying optimised content is also a time-consuming process.
SEM has an almost instantaneous impact. If the underlying SEO package is good then SEM stands a good chance with both paid search and organic search. Paid ADs and content have a very simple, uncomplicated format that lends itself to rapid deployment.
Another significant difference is the cost structure.
SEO involves hiring expensive specialists who have experience in developing such projects. This can be time-consuming also adding to cost. But the cost here is generally limited to development. The greatest outlay is at the outset.
SEM is a recurring cost. With expenses calculated as pay per click. The more hits you get, the more expensive the whole project becomes. Your clicks will get you returns but keeping pace with expenses may be a race against time.
• SEO is a time consuming process. SEM is designed for immediate impact.
• SEO is not a recurring cost. Though it is expensive. SEM is by definition a revenue expense that recurs daily.
• SEO uses keywords and requires extensive long form content. SEM uses barely any text and is mostly excerpts from websites and links that feature images.
Why you (absolutely) need SEO?
SEO creates brand awareness which is the main function of digital marketing. This is the point of origin for your business on the Internet. Without brand awareness, the enterprise is going nowhere. Once you configure keywords and content you are set up to draw traffic.
SEO plonks your website within reach of the clients’ cursor by taking you to the top of customer searches. Consistently ranking at the top creates the awareness and credibility that a business requires to thrive.
Brand awareness creates buzz and chatter among customers leading additionally to word of mouth connect.
A business creates trust and authority with properly curated content that caters intuitively to customers’ needs. Detailed and researched content reassure the customer by addressing issues they may be confronting before a purchase.
Successful SEO allows the business to develop strategic plans to keep pace with the evolving landscape of digital enterprise.
SEO carries your project into the social realm to platforms where a great deal of business churn is taking place.
The challenges with SEO
• SEO does take time. Once you set up content it will be a while before the business begins to see hits and turns the corner.
• The digital marketplace is bumper to bumper. Keywords are thin on the ground. Most keywords are already in use by established players.
• Developing content that hauls your website from the ranks of mediocrity to the top of search rankings requires expertise and is investment heavy. Search engines weigh content on value. Content has to deliver on many fronts to figure in search criteria. Content must enlighten and make customers’ experience better in every way.
• Search engines filter out irrelevant backlinks that are not credible and have no value to their users. Your concern will have to create genuine ties with other eCommerce business’ and review sites to make the connection with Google’s keyword and content criteria.
SEM: Why so popular?
SEM has with Google’s commercial model metamorphosed into ‘paid search’. This is undoubtedly the most effective digital marking tool.
Google offers pay per click (PPC). You pay only for ‘click throughs’ via Google’s search engine results page (SERP).
With PPC results are immediate unlike SEO. As long as you can pay for the privilege — your business will remain at the top of the search rankings.
The sponsored listings and Google paid ads are not regimented by methodology. There are no restrictions placed on paid ads.
Google sponsored and paid products allow you to display pictures and mention pricing. This leads to increased conversions via click throughs. Organic search listings allow only the display of plain text.
With PPC and Google Ads your sponsored content is focused very sharply on the targeted customer base. Clearly tagged as ‘AD' or ‘sponsored’ only those with intent or need will click through. Those who don’t click will recall encountering the advertisement.
Pay per click ads have a built-in ‘budget control feature’. You only pay for the ‘click throughs’ you receive through the sponsored links. You know exactly how much was spent on a daily basis and to what effect.
PPC allows targeting of audience on every available index and social indicator. You can target a specific age group on a particular day of the month and indicate the time and specify location. Paid ADs can also factor in particular devices.
PPC advertising campaigns allow you to measure results precisely using instantly generated click through data. If clicks do not convert into sales real time analytical data is on hand for corrective action.
PPC features A/B testing, (split testing or bucket testing). This is “a method of comparing two versions of a webpage or app against each other to determine which performs better”. Every aspect of the eCommerce website can be tested for impact and conversion.
The challenges with SEM
• A PPC offensive to push your products is a logical course of action but is an expensive choice. You will need to invest heavily over a period of time. SEO is not cheap and takes time but does not constantly demand more from your ad budget.
• A PPC drive involves giving up your marketing strategy to the competition. Its there for all to see. Every aspect including keywords, and layout of the advertisements is visible to your rivals and open for analysis.
Which Marketing Tactic Is Better
SEM is a full frontal assault on the market and is the preferred option in a digital marketing strategy. It allows you to simulate and test your campaign. It also provides real time feedback and cost analysis.
Both SEO and SEM have a role in digital marketing and are in fact complementary and inlaid into each other. Which you should adopt is a factor of cost, your goals, and how deep your pockets are.
Any campaign begins with SEO (which is a component of SEM). But SEO results take time.
SEM gets you immediate results. Paid Ads and sponsored content get you the traffic and clicks you need to kick start the business. But SEM is a financial drain if returns are insufficient.
Biting the bullet
The critical issue while making the choice of a digital marketing strategy when viewed through the prism of SEO and SEM is cost. Both incur cost. But SEM is a revenue expenditure which occurs daily