The keys to finding your business online – Organic SEO v. Paid SEM

When your warm leads are searching for your products, how do you ensure they find your website?

InternetDensityGraphicSince 1995, the global count of internet users has risen from 1% to 40%, meaning that today there are more than 3.5 billion internet users across the world. This translates to over 3,500,000,000 Google searches every day*—and over 1 billion websites fighting to show up in those search results.

You already know that if people are searching for products and services related to your business, then these are HOT leads, actively researching or considering purchases. Now, you need to get in front of them. With limited space on the front page of search results, how do you make sure that your website shows up in front of those prospects?

There are two main ways to leverage search engines to get visitors to your site—paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They work together, but function differently, and the best combination varies for every business. We’ve broken down each one below, to help you properly allocate your time and marketing dollars.


Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Whether or not you are using pay-to-play advertising, your website needs to meet basic SEO requirements.  This means that your site needs to have some degree of technical optimization (robots.txt, metadata, tags, sitemap) as well as page content that contains keywords relevant to your audience and business. Search engines test your site with bots that are constantly crawling the web, assessing keywords, links, and site functionality, and this data affects where your site ranks. The technical side of organic SEO ensures that search engine bots can read and sort your site effectively (interpreting your site as “user-friendly”), and the content helps the bots understand which users would be interested in seeing your site.

SearchQueryFor organic search rankings, your site needs not only to have well-constructed, relevant content, but also needs to have new content, consistently. Newer content ranks higher than older content, so a website that regularly adds blogs, articles, or updates is more likely to show up on the front page of search results (when that content is relevant to the query).

Many other important items go into your organic SEO, as well, such as:

  • Is your site mobile-friendly?
  • Do your webpages load quickly without image, code, or security errors?
  • Do other reputable or established sites link to your site (backlinks)?
  • Is your company local and accessible to the searcher?

Basically, even if you have the right, relevant content, search engines may not suggest your website if it doesn’t provide the right user experience. As a result, organic SEO requires consistent time commitment and some know-how—optimizing your site, producing content, and generating backlinks to your content.


Pad Search AdsPaid Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

In addition to optimizing your website in the hopes that your content will appear on the front page of search results, you can also invest advertising dollars on particular keywords (bidding against your competitors), for your ad to show up at the forefront of your prospects’ search.

The search engine puts your ad in front of users based on the relevance of your short, strategically constructed advertisements to the keywords in your prospects’ search queries. Complex algorithms compare how well your ads have previously performed with this audience versus your competitors’ ads, as well as howmuch you are willing to spend for someone to click on your ad, and places your ad on the search results page accordingly.

Even when this traffic doesn’t appear to lead to an online conversion, it increases awareness of your brand across these warmer leads, and may lead to a sale later on, off- or online. As long as you are monitoring your sales data and revenue, you can calculate the ROI of your paid search—helping you determine whether or not this additional advertising cost is a good investment in future sales.


So, what combination works best for your business?

The best strategy for your online visibility will depend on your audience, business model, and budget. If you’re not sure how this fits with your business or marketing budget, we can help! For a free SEO consultation or help determining the best strategy for your lead generation, please submit your inquiry at RCBSEO.com, or reach out to Samantha Gordon at sgordon@rcbrayshaw.com or 603.298.5057.


*We listed stats from Google, as it still holds 89% of the web’s search volume. However, this doesn’t include the counts from the other major search engines, so the total quantity of searches is even higher.

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