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What is SEO? What is SEM?
Are they different?
Are they the same?
Many have been confused about the difference between the two in the past.
I will gladly help you clarify them in this post.
SEO is the practice of increasing the number of visitors to a website via organic search results on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
What makes SEO so powerful? The quality of traffic; visitors genuinely interested in your product or service. Let's use a sportswear e-commerce site, for example. Who is more likely going to purchase from that website?
The two options are incredibly different. They are perfect audiences for different products for many reasons, such as demographics.
Both can come to the site one way, but who is most likely to purchase from the site? You guessed it right, option A.
Both users count as website traffic the moment they land on the site, but let's define the quality of the traffic. One (option a) will most likely spend more time on the site. The other (option b) will likely exit the site when they see nothing related to their interests.
Some KPIs that can help you determine the quality of the traffic you are receiving on your site are the following:
Exit rate is the percentage of site visitors who click away to a different site from a specific page.
This KPI is defined by the user's time on your site. This can be from one second to several hours.
The bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave rather than continuing to view other pages within the same site.
A high bounce rate does not always mean a bad thing. An astounding 90% bounce rate isn't abnormal. Some sections on your website will have higher bounce rates due to the page's objective.
For example, a landing page targeted for conversions will likely bounce higher than your homepage. Why? Simply because most landing pages have exactly what the user is looking for after the first click. While someone visiting your homepage will have several options to view during that one session.
This KPI shows the navigation the user has had on your site. Through pages viewed per session, you can see the average number of pages inside your website that users visited.
Using goals and events in your website analytics helps measure how often users complete specific actions. Goals measure how well your site accomplished your target objectives. A goal represents conversion, known as a completed activity, and contributes to the success of your business.
Placing an onsite search feature on your page and throughout your site can significantly benefit the user experience.
You can later review the queries they searched for and use that as a base for your marketing efforts.
If the quality of the visits is ideal, more traffic is always better. Once you have discovered the best type of traffic, bringing them to your website will be the next action.
The following KPIs will help you determine if you're doing this correctly.
Unique visitors refer to the number of distinct individuals visiting the website during a specific period, regardless of how often they visit. For example, a visitor can come to the site three times. Therefore, the website will reflect three different sessions, which will count as one unique website visitor. This is because the website received three visits at different times, even though the same person performed the action.
This allows you to see how many new visitors your website receives versus how many people return to the site after their first visit. This is greatly used for retargeting purposes in paid advertising efforts.
This metric lets you view the pages receiving most traffic, sessions, and unique visitors.
Organic is all the traffic you do not have to pay for. If you decide to click on one option that is not an ad, your click becomes part of an organic result.
Is your traffic coming from paid search efforts? Are they coming in from a social media channel? Maybe they found you via backlinks (also known as inbound links). Website analytics show in detail where your traffic is coming from. This is what this KPI stands for.
Now that the elements have been defined let's talk a little bit more about what is involved in SEO. There are two types of SEO that can be performed for any company, On-page SEO and Off-page SEO.
SEM includes SEO tactics, as well as several other search marketing strategies. Search Engine Marketing is "the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines" and focuses on paid advertising (also known as PPC- Pay Per Click). SEM is known as a digital marketing strategy. It is used to increase the visibility of any website on search engine results pages. Search engine marketing and paid search or pay per click are often referred to as the same or interchangeable.
Some of the activities involved in SEM are the following:
SEO and SEM are not interchangeable, although they work hand in hand.
The image above clearly shows that Old Navy is just one position below the first result from an ad. Old Navy uses SEO to rank on Google's first page for this search query. Notice Vanquish Fitness gets to appear on the first page due to a PPC campaign.
If you are first launching a site and you want immediate visibility, it is a good idea to create a strategic PPC campaign because it takes less time than SEO. However, keep in mind that SEO will help establish organic search credibility. A quality that PPC won't grant to your business.
Keep both efforts hand in hand so that you may achieve fast results and a long-term outcome from your overall marketing efforts. Our team at gardenpatch loves helping businesses reach their highest potential and optimizing their website's potential online.
We can help you with this and so much more. At gardenpatch, we can help you reach your website's highest potential through a strong marketing strategy that involves both SEM and SEO tactics.
The first step to do this is by analyzing what is currently being done. This will only take us a few minutes and will propel your exposure.