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Organic SEO Vs. SEM (Paid Search Engine Marketing)


SEO vs. SEM that is the question, whether paid search engine marketing and organic search engine optimization services are both effective and economical tools for attracting prospects. But which method to use? I’ll start with a short definition of each of these respective tools:

Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – is the process whereby a website structure, design, and page content is adjusted to boost the search ranking of a Web page for specific keywords. This requires selecting high-traffic keywords, adjusting the HTML code, infusing content with the right keywords, and building incoming and outgoing links.

Paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM or also referred to as Pay-Per-Click (PPC)) – is an advertising tool which exposes Web users to ads based on the keywords they search. For the best results, it is wise to adhere to a few proven steps. First you need to select the relevant keywords and avoid irrelevant ones, then use these keywords to  create attractive advertising content that will generate clicks. Next, you must design a landing page that entices people to give their contact information and, finally, you need to adjust your advertising campaigns according to your results.



So, from a marketing perspective, how does organic search engine optimization compare with paid search engine marketing?



We all want to be ranked on the top of the search engine results. Paid search engine marketing can quickly elevate your company to the very top of the results page—even higher than the organic search results. Nowadays, though web users tend to differentiate between paid advertisements and actual search results, this exposure is still very effective, provided your campaign offering is well-defined. If you are already on the first page of the search engines, the benefits of paid search engine marketing will be marginal. However,  if you have trouble getting your site noticed, consider investing in paid search engine marketing for fast visibility.



While paid search engine marketing can bring you to the very top of search engine results, it is just not as credible as organic search engine optimization. Most users believe organic search results are more reliable and trustworthy because they have not been paid for. The bottom line: unpaid, organically ranked links get a lot more clicks than a paid search engine marketing advertisement.



When organic search engine optimization gets you on the first results page, you are king and, unlike paid search engine marketing, you are not limited by a daily budget. This means that as long as you keep up your SEO efforts, you will appear high in the results every day of the week. On the other hand, if you lower your budget for paid search engine marketing, you will literally disappear off the radar. So if you’re looking to invest over the long-term, go with organic search engine optimization services.



When comparing SEO vs. SEM, both paid search engine marketing and organic search engine optimization can be tracked by tools. These tools enable you to assess the effectiveness of your marketing and improve your campaigns.


Sustainability vs. Fast Results

Paid search engine marketing will generally yield faster results than organic search engine optimization. With better control over the process of paid search engine marketing, you can reach the top of search engine results within days. If your campaign is well-customized, you’ll get clicks right away. Still, you usually need at least three weeks of trial and error to customize a paid search campaign and get new leads. In contrast, organic search engine optimization is more tricky. Though most of the Web sites that we have worked on managed to get to the first page after a relatively short time (2-3 months), we have sites that increased their ranking within weeks. There are many factors that affect how quickly you will see results and, based on our expertise, we can estimate how long it would take for your site to achieve similar rankings. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for immediate results, go for paid search engine marketing. If you’re investing in the long-term and want to gradually increase your traffic in a more sustainable manner, invest in organic search engine optimization services.



Paid search engine marketing requires constant maintenance. You must continually adjust your ads to appear in the top positions with the right keywords. This is a daily process of ensuring that your budget is well spent. Organic search engine optimization is different. Once you spend your initial investment, you just need to invest in a low-maintenance plan to keep and strengthen your high position on the search results.



The cost of organic search engine optimization services run between 15%-20% of the cost of paid search engine marketing, hence many companies prefer starting off with organic search engine optimization services.

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If you have other questions regarding SEO vs. SEM or whether to implement organic search engine optimization or paid search engine marketing for your website, please feel free to direct them to us and we will gladly assess your situation.


“Ranking our Web site high on search engines results, designing a professional Web site look and developing engaging relevant content for a heavy technology company like us resulted in a dramatic increase in client leads that we receive from our Web site.”

Simon Robin CEO, Hardent