The Importance of SEM and SEO in Website Design


SEM and SEO in Website Design

Most internet marketers and online business owners are familiar with (search engine marketing) SEM and SEO (search engine optimization).  While SEO involves certain practices and tactics that will enable your website to rank higher in the SERP’s (search engine results pages), SEM includes SEO, paid listings, and other services related to the search engines.  Although these two concepts are similar in nature, they are very different.  Additionally, many individuals make the common mistake of using them interchangeably.

How are SEM and SEO different?

Regardless of the above, they both play an important role in generating traffic for your website.  However, it is also important to understand how the two differ.  The first thing you want to be aware of is that SEM incorporates SEO as a sub-strategy so in essence, it is a much broader practice.  While SEO increases a website’s ranking in the search results, SEM uses the major search engines to advertise your business and website to internet users.  So SEM generates more qualified and targeted traffic.

Furthermore, search engine marketing and search engine optimization do not compete with one another.  Granted, SEO is viewed as a subset of different SEM practices and strategies.  However, if you want to build a stronger online presence and increase your visibility, your website needs to visible in both advertised and natural or organic links.  Basically, your website design needs to incorporate both advertising and marketing practices in order to be more visible to internet users.

Increased Visibility with SEM

SEM involves strategies that drive traffic to a website from the major search engines (Bing, Google, Yahoo!, etc.).  It encompasses a number of advertising formats such as cost-per-click (CPC), pay-per-click (PPC), and traditional advertisements that are placed on the SERP’s.  There is also “paid inclusion” or the process of paying for a higher ranking in the results pages.

SEO – the more Cost-Friendly Option

Without a doubt, SEO is the most cost-effective form of internet marketing that you can use to promote your website and the products or services you offer.  SEO involves deliberately using certain elements such as HTML tags, keywords and keyword phrases, Meta data, and other tactics that are content-related in nature.  Your website gains a higher position in the search results pages by virtue of the authority gained from using these SEO tactics.

Organic or Paid Search – Which One should You Choose?

Many online business owners today get frustrated trying to decide between using SEM and SEO when designing or upgrading their website.  What they don’t realize is that it isn’t a matter of deciding whether SEM is better than SEO or vice versa.  It’s a matter of striking a balance between the two and using them both.  The first thing you need to consider is your budget.  CPC and PPC campaigns can get expensive, so if you don’t have the finances to support either of these, you’ll want to use SEO instead.  Conversely, if you have some flexibility in your budget, then paid search marketing is worth investing in.

It goes without saying that your SEO efforts can easily be downgraded or down-ranked because of the changes and improvements that are constantly being made in the search engine’s algorithms.  Fortunately, SEM is immune to these changes and can be used in its original format for the life of an ad campaign.  Additionally, there are a few “behind-the-scenes” marketing tactics that you can employ to ensure seeing a return on your SEM investments such as research and testing.  Overall, the choice between integrating SEM or SEO with your website design is going to be a matter of personal preference.

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