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Brand Advertising: SEM vs SEO

There are a lot of options for getting your site noticed by customers on the web, and most of them are useful to some degree, but knowing which methods to use, when to use them, and how to apply them most forcefully and cost-effectively can be a challenge for even the most savvy business owner.

So, let’s look at the uses and strategies for three of the most common and effective tools: paid advertising, such as Google Adwords and similar products, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Search Engine Marketing

This is a wide discipline that includes any type of online brand advertising, social media outreach, articles, as well as the narrower practice of SEO. All are intended to increase the overall visibility of a site on the web, and drive traffic to your business.

Paid Advertising

The most widely used advertising methods are paid search results, which involves paying search engines for high rankings based on relevant search terms, and pay-per-click ads. Both of these can be effective drivers of traffic and bring folks to your door, but there are times to use them and times to avoid them.

Paid advertising products like Google Adwords are particularly useful for sites where the customer purchases something directly from the site. A site that collects contact information will get best results with an incentive for the visitor to leave that information, which is why coupons, contests and giveaways have become so common on the modern web. Paid advertising can also be helpful to jump-start a long-term SEO strategy, particularly in fields where the keywords are highly competitive.

Paid advertising should not be used for sites that are not optimized or have older, outdated designs which are not ready for the traffic. Before we go into that further, let’s look at:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is the basic fundamental of Search Engine Marketing. This is where you start. For older sites, or sites that were not designed with SEO in mind, you have to begin here, as visits to your site that arise out of natural search results are higher-quality than any that you may gain from paid leads.

Usually, doing a SEO makeover on your site is a good time to look at its friendliness, functionality, and your overall branding strategy. If you’re beginning a site from the ground up, you should build SEO into your design from day one.

SEO means that the design of your site itself is intended to drive higher search results, including the language used in the site content, as well as the underpinnings of the site that operate out of the customer’s view.

Effective SEO design means SEM strategies you invest in will get more traction from day one, and deliver a higher return on investment. Spending money to drive search results for a site that is not optimized for them is a poor investment.

Remember this most important point:

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Think of your website as a storefront, a business that people will walk into. If you had a location like this, you wouldn’t say to yourself “I think I’ll spend a lot of money on commercials, then later I’ll clean this place up, put in some lights, and maybe install a floor.”

The first, best thing you can do for yourself and your business is have your website design be functional and friendly to visitors. Then, make sure it is ready for advertising, by making the site as supportive to your marketing strategy as possible.

Then, and only then, are you ready to roll out the welcome mat with smart, well-invested advertising dollars.

Still have questions? Write to us at TVI Designs, and one of our experts will be happy to review your site and your strategies.

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