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SEO and SEM: Working Together for Better Results

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How do you tell whether your website would benefit more from being displayed in the organic or cost-per-click listings on the search engine results page?

Every company has different targets, keyword rankings and goals that it is striving to achieve with their website, so undertaking in one or the other can be sufficient for your site’s traffic, enquiries and sales.

But if you want the best of both worlds, put simply, your site can benefit from both as there are numerous advantages of appearing in both paid and unpaid listings.

Around 55-65% of users will click on the organic search engine listings, and around 35-45% will click on the paid search engine results (depending on whose research you believe).

The unpaid, organic listings can increase a site’s keyword rankings by undertaking Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The majority of users will choose to follow the organic listings, as these results are seen to be less biased and can be perceived as being more relevant to the keywords that the user is looking for.

The catch for engaging in SEO is that most companies do not guarantee results and it can take months to start seeing traction on keywords, especially in competitive industries. Online competitors could have an authoritative advantage in the search engines if their sites have been around for longer and hold the keyword positions that your site is trying to target.

This is where dabbling in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) as well as SEO, is handy.

SEM creates the paid, “sponsored” links that appear usually on the right-hand side of the search engine results page and are virtually instantaneous. This allows your site to emerge on the first few pages in Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines, while SEO is doing its ground work to get noticed.

The benefits of creating an SEO and SEM synergy include:

Market Penetration

Engaging in both SEO and SEM allows search engine users to be ‘captured’ at all stages of the buying process. Users that are in the problem recognition or information search stages of the buying process are more likely view organic listings. On the other hand, users who are closer to making a purchase decision or are evaluating alternative products and services are more likely to click on SEM advertisements.

A Stronger Web Presence

SEM paid listings provides visibility for competitive keywords that a site may find hard to rank initially through SEO.

Greater Measurability

Having a site’s SEO keyword ranking statistics and the SEM traffic, keyword and conversion statistics allows for a greater level of accountability and the ability to cross-reference results. These results can also be measured and reviewed over time and can help drive traffic and sales for your site by focusing efforts on top-performing keywords.

Build Credibility

Research shows that users associate the ‘Top Ten’ organic page results with companies that are the industry leaders. Couple this with some catchy Google AdWords or other cost-per-click advertisements and a site will appear to have the online industry covered.

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