How do SEO and SEM complement each other?
Both SEO and SEM rely heavily on keywords to drive traffic to companies' websites and web pages. Although the marketing techniques used for each are different, both focus on traffic flows and their relationship to marketing activities. People will use search engines to search for something they are looking for, and may find it through organic results (SEO) or through paid results (SEM).
Most people search online before they buy something, so having a strong search presence is crucial and using a strategic combination of both can increase your visibility in the long run.
SEO is for organic traffic, i.e. unpaid or free listings, and SEM is for targeted ads that you pay for. They can be complementary, but only if the website itself is suitable for SEO in the first place, then SEM is more likely to succeed.
SEO is the foundation of good SEM and, when each is set up well, there is more chance of getting high quality traffic and improving conversion rates. Once you have a website that works well with SEO and sponsored ads that are well targeted using the right keywords, you will have a better chance of appearing at the top of paid searches. But you have to have your SEO in place for Google to see you as a credible website.
If your website is newer, you can prioritise your PPC campaign, as SEO positioning can take a while to establish, but don't ignore your SEO during this process.
SEO and SEM: future directions
SEO and SEM: future directions
SEO and SEM will continue to change, as the major search engines continually modify their ranking parameters. For this reason, it is difficult to predict what will happen, but here are some likely directions.
UX (user experience) will continue to become more important for SEO. This is a current trend that makes sense, as Google wants to reward the most user-friendly sites.
Google's Accelerated Mobile Project (AMP) will gain even more popularity. AMP is a collaboration between developers and other industry professionals to create a massive open source library that gives users more opportunities to create fast and seamless mobile-friendly web pages. This is an area where we will see the death of slow loading pages that rank low. The use of AMP has led to huge increases in mobile searches and traffic for large publications such as the Washington Post and Slate.
AI will become increasingly involved in SEO and other search activities, especially as the Internet of Things becomes more and more prominent. This will change the nature of search, but will allow us to create more targeted ads for SEM.
Everything will become more data-centric and therefore it will be easier to create targeted and personalised campaigns. But because of this, users will also be increasingly concerned about privacy.
Anyone seeking a career in digital marketing should have a good understanding of not only how SEO and SEM work in today's digital atmosphere, but should be aware of how both will change as we become more and more reliant on technology. Having a solid understanding of how each is involved in digital marketing campaigns will be especially crucial in digital marketing in the coming years.