Well before I can answer the question let’s agree on what the terms SEO and SEM actually mean.
SEO, Search Engine Optimization, is the process of gaining website traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.
SEM, Search Engine Marketing, is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing adverts on search engines.
So which is better?
It is not possible actually to choose one and not the other because true SEM does have components of SEO.
As a Digital Marketer to me SEO is the better choice as true SEM cannot be successful without SEO. A website must be fully search engine optimized to really benefit from SEM as SEM does have components of SEO.
In answering the question to which will work best for your business it is a simple matter of cost and expectation.
If you just started your business or introduced a new product and want to see quick results SEM is the better choice. But remember….
[Tweet “70-80% of search users ignore the paid ads, focusing on the organic results! “]
However in having said that from a cost perspective embarking on a sound long term SEO strategy is a must. Websites do have a cost component and every effort must be made to generate a positive ROI.
A website is a business tool, a resource, and must be put ‘to work’. The only way to achieve this is to ensure that you embark on SEO activities daily. I am often asked for how long? For as long as your website or business exists because search engines change their algorithms, your customers change their behavior and the list goes on. The point really is your business changes, the environment in which your business operates changes and therefor your website must be adjusted to incorporate these changes to still yield the results you want.
More so, organic SEO does take time, the Internet is huge and almost like a spider web your website must ‘crawl’ into the vast world of the Internet leaving ‘hooks’ everywhere. This takes time and skill. Remember SEO is not just about posting content it also includes technical adjustments only skilled professionals can assist you with.
The smart choice? Decide to include a sound SEO strategy in your business and start reaping long term rewards – leads with a conversion rate of 14.6%!
You will be glad you did because the cost savings over time will be measurable and huge!