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Search engines have become critical to the success of every small business. Businesses that show at or near the top of consumer searches will thrive while those that don’t can really struggle. 

Businesses that want to improve their visibility in search engines have two strategies that they can employ; SEO and SEM. Today, we will explore the differences between these two strategies so that you can decide which is best for your small business. But first, what are SEO and SEM anyway?

What Is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making adjustments to the content of a website to improve its visibility on search engines results pages. It involves optimizing various aspects of a website, such as the content, structure, and HTML source code, to make it more relevant and useful to users. SEO is a long-term strategy that requires ongoing efforts and updates to keep up with changing search engine algorithms and user behavior. In short, SEO is all about making a website more user-friendly and search engine-friendly to improve its chances of ranking higher on SERPs.

What Is SEM?

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy that involves paying for your website to appear at the top of search engines like Google and Bing. These search engines include a section at the top of their results pages that are specifically set aside for up to 3 ads to appear, before the regular organic listings. Businesses bid on specific customer searches to get their ads displayed at the top of search engine results pages for those searches. SEM is an ever-evolving strategy that demands continuous monitoring, testing, and fine-tuning to attain the best results.

Advantages Of SEO

SEO has many advantages for businesses looking to improve their online presence. At its most basic,  it can drive more traffic to your website, which will lead to more leads and sales for your business. Being ranked above your competitors by a third party like Google can also boost brand credibility with consumers. Since its is all about improving your website, SEO will also enhance the user experience of your website. This means that you should not only get more consumers to land on your website, you should also get them to stay longer on the site to learn more about your business.

The final advantage of SEO is its long lasting benefits. Unlike ads which stop being effective once you stop paying for them, the website improvements you get with SEO remain even if you stop your SEO strategy. This means that you will continue to reap the benefits of SEO long after you stop.

Advantages Of SEM

SEM provides several advantages for businesses seeking to increase online visibility and attract more customers. The main advantage that it provides is speed. Unlike SEO, which can take months or even years to really kick in, SEM can improve your visibility in search engines overnight. SEM also allows you to precisely target the audience and keywords phrases that are most important to the success of your business. SEM is therefore an effective tool for businesses to reach a wider audience, increase brand awareness, and drive more conversions quickly.

Which Is Better For Your Small Business? 

Both SEO and SEM have their strengths and weaknesses. Overall, companies whose focus is more toward long term growth and less on generating additional business today should look at SEO. Companies that are more focused on growing as fast as possible should instead utilize SEM strategies.

SEO and SEM are not mutually exclusive, however. In fact, a good digital marketing strategy will incorporate both SEO and SEM to maximize the visibility of a website both in the short term and the long term. 

If you’re interested in implementing SEO and SEM tactics for your business, it’s crucial to work with a team of experts who can guide you through the process. Contact us today to learn how we can help you implement effective SEO and SEM strategies and take your business to the next level. 

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