12/04/2016 3 min read by Ivan Teh

SEO vs SEM: Should it be a Competition?

SEO vs SEM: Should it be a competition?

What’s better for my business, SEO or SEM? Should I stop Google Ads completely and focus on my SEO? Should I stop my SEO work and put all of my budget into Google Ads? These are all questions that we constantly face as online marketing specialists here at AdVisible. The answers to these questions are always going to depend on who you’re asking. If you’re talking to your SEO team, most of the time they will tell you to stop using your budget on Google Ads and to pay them more. The same goes for whoever manages your SEM. They’ll probably tell you that SEO doesn’t work fast enough and to invest all of your budget into Google Ads.

When I’m faced with these questions, I like to take a step back and look at it from a neutral point of view. I’m not going to force someone in to a certain method of advertising just because it might benefit me. I look at what will be most beneficial for the client, and go from there.

So How Do I Choose?

So in saying that, if budget permits, I suggest investing in both SEO and SEM. Both methods have their pro’s & their cons, and work great in conjunction with each other (if optimised correctly of course).

SEM Pro’s

  • Controlling your costs with set daily budget allocations
  • There is a huge range of targeting options. From demographic, geographic, to user interest.
  • Instant Traffic
  • Easier Measures of ROI

SEM Con’s

  • Competition increase in SEM has meant a constant rise in costs for advertising on this platform
  • The complexity involved in managing campaigns means you will more than likely need to pay a specialist to manage this for you

SEO Pro’s

  • No direct costs to Google for appearing on the front page
  • No cost per click relationship
  • No Limit to clicks for your ranking

SEO Con’s

  • It can take anywhere from 3-12 months to actually start ranking for keywords
  • Constant updates to Googles algorithms, meaning constant back end work on your site

A common way at looking at this comparison is as buying (SEO) vs renting (SEM). SEO is like investing in your long term, and having your house (1st page ranking) after a period of investment. While SEM is like paying rent to Google to have your ad living on the first page.

However, the SEO mortgage is never fully payed off. Google constantly releases new algorithms for their organic rankings, meaning your SEO work still needs to be consistent & on top of all these changes. Otherwise you lose your rankings, and potential customers looking for you will go to your competitors.

In the end, both methods work in their own way, and both have their downfalls. It becomes a matter of personal preference & what aligns more with your business goals.

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