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In this article, we shall be answering these 7 questions regarding SEO and SEM.

1. What is SEO?
2. What is SEM?
3. Which one is faster?
4. Which one brings more return on investment?
5. Which is better for small businesses?
6. How much do they cost.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the act of optimizing your website to be able to appear on the first page of search whenever a particular keyword is triggered through search.

For instance, if you go on Google search and type Email Marketing Software or Digital Marketing Training in Abuja, you will see a list of websites that will appear, those websites appear there because of what is called Search Engine Optimization. They have been able to optimize their website on that particular keyword and they are ranking for that.

There are 4 categories of SEO

1. On-page SEO
This is optimizing a particular webpage for a particular keyword, such that when that keyword is triggered, that particular webpage will show on the search engine. It includes everything you do on-page within the content on your website for that website to be able to rise.

2. Off-page SEO
As the name implies, it is what you do outside the page to be able to get that page ranked. It involves building authority, building trust, getting backlinks, maybe through relationship, through guest posting or any other thing you do to be able to get Authority website to link back to your website. It may also involve social media because search engine takes notice of all of these things.

3. Technical SEO
This is the ability to optimize your website so that search engines can crawl and index your web pages without any issues. It involves things like
A. The Speed, that is, how far does your website load?
B. The structure and the navigation: How is it for someone to navigate around your website when they are looking for information?

4. User interaction:
It is the signal that Google gets when they visit a particular webpage. Like how long do they spend? What is the bounce rate?
That signal will be able to rank that particular page depending on whether the bounce rate is high or low. Bounce rate means how long people spend on your website. If someone comes to your website and leaves immediately, the bounce rate will be very high, almost 100%.

The more time people spend on your website, the lower the bounce rate. If your bounce rate is very low, it will help your website to rank higher.

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing is simply everything you do to be able to get a particular page on your website to rank on top of the first page of search engine results. Organic + paid activities= SEM. SEO + PPC = SEM.

Everything you do, both organic and paid to be able to get your webpage ranked is called Search Engine Marketing. Search Engine Marketing involves you bidding for keyword. You pay money to search engine pay click so that when people click on that advert, you get charged; the more money you are ready to spend the higher you will rank.

Google also takes notes of some other parameters, like the quality score, which may also involve the quality of your landing page, and also involves the click-through rate which may also involve the overall quality of your add account.

Which one is faster between SEM and SEO?

Let’s say I build a new website today, which one should I start with, which one will give me result faster?
If you want the one that will give you result faster, it depends on 2 things:

A. Do you have money to spend?
If you have money to spend, the fastest one is SEM. It will involve paying money to appear on the search. It’s possible to build a website today and have the website appear on the top of Google first page today if you have a lot of money to spend.

If you have bided for a particular keyword and everything is done right, you can appear on the Google first page the first day using advert if you have the money to spend.

B. If you don’t have money, you have to focus on SEO: That is, publishing good and authoritative contents consistently on a particular keyword and then, waiting for Google to rank you. That can happen as fast as 6 months. It can take up 1 year to 3 years for a particular page to rank on Google under SEO.

If you are looking for fast results, you must have money to spend and of course, you must use Pay-per-click, which is speed advertising.

Which one brings more return on investment?

When you use paid advertising, you are spending money in order to get money. The money you are spending also depends on how well you are be able to optimize your ads. It is possible to spend a lot of money and not get any return on investment if your ad is not properly optimized; you bid a particular keyword and maybe there is no correlation between the relevance of that keyword and what you are advertising. People can click and not take action. If your ad copy is not good, people may not take action.

If your landing page is not good, you may not get result because people may not take action so you can actually spend a lot of money without getting anything. But if everything is done right, you can spend money and get money.

You can spend $1 and get $10 depending on how you optimize your ad and how you can put up your landing page and every other thing in order.

On the side of SEO, Search Engine Optimization is not free. Some people mistake SEO to be free because Google is not charging you any money. But for you to be able to create quality content and be able to publish it will also cost you money.

For you to sit down and write the blog post or pay someone to write it, for you to do the graphic design and everything that involves quality, they are going to cost you money, maybe the money may be low compared to SEM.

On SEO, you do the work once and you get more return on investment, because once you do it and you start ranking, traffic starts coming to your website, you just sit back and enjoy your reward. Let’s say you start ranking for a particular keyword and you are getting like 300 visits every month.

By the time you check the amount you are going to pay for 300 visits every month, check back over 1 year, you will see that you are getting more return on investment because you only spend the money once but you keep getting return on that particular money.

It’s like you spend money once and you keep getting value on that particular money you spent. SEO gives more money on investment even though it takes more time but on a long run, it will give you more return on investment.

Which is better for small businesses?

Most small business owners don’t have money to spend on ads, because they always have a lean budget. It is advisable to go for SEO, Search Engine Optimization.

You are going to be looking for keywords, especially long tail keywords that is not hard to rank for. Start creating more quality contents around those keywords, optimize them and wait to rank. Once you start ranking, it will help you as a small business to grow faster. It may take a while but once you start ranking, you keep getting more and more return from that investment. For a small business, SEO is better.

How much do they cost?

Both of them costs money but SEM costs more because at every point, you must spend money to get value. If you want to get traffic today, you pay money. If you even want to get traffic tomorrow, you spend money. If you want to get traffic after 6 months, you are still going to pay money.

But for SEO, you only spend the money once. You spend the money to create a quality content and then publish the content. Once you start ranking, you don’t need to spend a dime again, you just sit back and enjoy the traffic coming to you. In terms of cost, SEO is cheaper on the long term.

If you have money, go for SEM
If you don’t have money, go for SEO.
If you have money and you are looking for long-term results, use both of them, SEO and SEM working together.