Understanding the Difference Between WordPress SEO and SEM.

You've heard of SEO, but what about SEM? What are they really and which should be your top priority?

Every WordPress site has different needs and goals, but every blog or business wants to be seen and heard by its target audience.

SEO and SEM are two very similar ways to market your website but have very different timelines for results and differ in sustainability regarding continued use.

It’s important to understand and choose the best marketing technique that best suits your website, whether that be for services, products or information.

In understanding SEO, SEM and their differences, you need to know when best to use them, and how, so we’ve compiled the basics.

Hopefully, it should be able to give you a heads-up and point you in the best direction for your website.

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?

SEO is the process of optimising your website to improve its visibility in search engine results.

It involves making changes to your site’s content, structure and other elements to improve its search results ranking organically, without overpaid advertising.

Here’s what you need to know about SEO for your WordPress site.

These are the basics:

  • Keyword research: Identify the words and phrases that your target audience is likely to use when searching for products or services related to your business. Tools like SEMRush can help.
  • On-Page Optimisation: Include keywords naturally into your site. Make sure it loads quickly and is mobile, user and search-engine friendly.
  • Content Creation: Regularly publish high-quality, informative content on your website. It attracts organic traffic and establishes your business as an authority in your specific niche.
  • Link Building: Obtain backlinks from reputable websites to improve your site’s authenticity and visibility. You can achieve this by guest blogging, partnerships, or by creating valuable content.

When to use SEO?

SEO is a long-term strategy that requires patience and consistent effort.

It is perfect for businesses looking to build an easily sustainable online presence and increase organic and loyal traffic over time.

Because it is a prolonged process, it could be useful to hire an SEO professional to take care of it for you, with long-term financial and productivity benefits for your business, as opposed to short-lived, temporary advertising campaigns.

What is SEM (Search Engine Marketing)?

SEM involves promoting your site by using paid advertising options offered by search engines, like Google Ads.

This is a more likely option for large corporations who need to drive numbers, instead of forming longer and reliable connections with site visitors.

Unlike SEO, SEM focuses on immediate visibility and driving traffic through paid methods, but the effects only last so long.

Consider the following aspects of SEM for your WordPress site:

  • Keyword Research: Look for the most relevant and cost-effective keywords for your paid campaigns. This increases the chances your ads will reach the right audience.
  • Ad Creation: Create engaging ads that catch the attention of users. Optimise titles, descriptions, URLs and calls-to-action to maximise interest.
  • Campaign Management: Monitor your SEM campaigns to make sure they are achieving your goals. Adjust your bidding strategy, keywords and targeting options based on performance data to increase the chances of getting a return on your investment.
  • Landing Page Optimisation: Design a landing page that aligns with your advertisements. Ensure they provide a spotless user experience, have clear calls-to-action and offer relevant information.

When to use SEM?

SEM can be particularly useful for small businesses that want immediate results or have a specific promotion or event to advertise.

It offers a way to quickly increase visibility and attract targeted traffic to your website.

However, it is not a sustainable way to increase visibility or traffic, as there is no guarantee that people will interact with your advertising.

It can be pricey for one round of ads, that result in inconsistent and unreliable results. (View our SEO maintenance pricing)

Our Professional Opinion

If you want to see continuous, sustainable growth, SEO is your best option.

Small and new businesses benefit massively from organically growing their online presence, both financially and sustainably for a larger chain impact.

It can be a lot to do, especially when you have other priorities, so hiring an SEO specialist is a great way to start growing as a blog or business.

Trust us, it will be worth it.

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