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SEO, PPC, SEM – Which are Most Effective for Your Business?

So many acronyms, not enough time to decode what each of them means and what suits your business best! Here is a guide taking you through all the steps in understanding and choosing the right business model for you.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is a method of making sure your website/webpage/blog/account shows up among the top results in a Google/Bing/Safari search. In other words, when you do SEO for a website, you are trying to make sure that it gets the maximum possible organic traffic and hits. On a search results page, the higher a website or a profile is listed, the more its chances are of getting a click. To break it down even further, SEO can enable your baby clothes-selling website to make it among the top search results on Google when someone searches for “baby socks online”.

SEO takes into consideration the basic working mechanism of search engines and uses that understanding for the “optimization”. So it will consider the actual keywords that the users are expected to be putting into the search engine when they search for a particular item online.

What type of business can SEO help?

SEO can surely help most businesses out there, some more than others. Online businesses, medical services, professional services, and restaurants can benefit greatly from SEO. One of the main factors behind this is the way people interact with these services. For example, before going to a restaurant or before buying something from an online store, a user will almost always use his or her preferred search engine to look for more information and reviews about the same. That is where SEO can help – by showing your website among the top search results.

What is PPC?

PPC stands for pay-per-click. It is basically an advertising model in which an advertiser will pay a website owner for every click the website facilitates on his ad. Most social media platforms, ranging from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter, use PPC as their own model of advertising.

PPC is associated with most of the top search engines such as Google Ads and Amazon advertising. Advertisers under PPC bid for certain keyword phrases and pay when their ads are clicked.

What type of businesses can PPC help?

Businesses that deal with hard-to-find items can benefit greatly from PPC. This is mainly because with such items, it can be easier to predict what kind of search phrases their intended target audience is likely to use.

PPC can also work very well for businesses with event-based value, such as florists, gift items, and so on.

Another segment PPC works beautifully for is businesses with a high customer lifetime value, such as dentists, doctors and lawyers. This is because not only do customers have a habit of googling and looking at reviews before going to a doctor or a lawyer, but such business owners can also end up getting repeat customers through PPC.

What is SEM?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. This is a broader term that refers to any way in which a website can be promoted through search engines. Both paid and organic search falls under the SEM umbrella.

Whenever we search for something on a search engine (say Google), we see links to a number of websites on the result page.

  • The topmost links, as well as the links displayed in the right-hand column, are paid advertisements. With the help of SEM, businesses can utilize this space to promote their websites to potential customers. They only have to pay when someone clicks on their ad, as opposed to the traditional offline advertising model where you end up paying upfront regardless of the actual reach.
  • The links displayed on the main part of the page are called organic results. Businesses do not have to pay anything to the search engine to get their websites displayed here. This is where SEO comes into the picture. With the help of SEO, website owners can optimize their web pages for the best search results.

The main advantage of SEM is that it targets people who are actively looking for relevant products/services. Thus they have a higher chance of converting to a customer.

What type of business can SEM help?

SEM can be most helpful for small businesses that are trying to make it big in an ultra-competitive environment. So if you are a small restaurant, you could use SEM to push yourself up search results. This can result in higher traffic to your website and eventually more business to you.


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