SEO, SEM, Paid Ads, & Lead Generation
Digital marketing is often about gaining exposure through the form of impressions that generate leads which then get converted into sales.
The most common way consumers find businesses these days is through search platforms such as Google or Bing, and social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn. However, your company’s website is just one of potentially hundreds of other websites offering similar products or services on these platforms which can result in your website getting lost in the endless pages of search results.
This means your job now is figuring out how to get all those potential consumers to click on your website instead of clicking on your competitor’s website when they search for your services online.
What page your business ends up on these search platforms is called a “ranking”. If your business is the first business to display on Google, this means your search ranking is #1. Or if there are 10 businesses that appear before yours, this means your search ranking is #11.
If you’re new to digital marketing it’s highly likely that you’re going to come across new terms and acronyms that you may never have heard or seen before. Terms that may start to look familiar will include ones such as:
- CPC (Cost per Click),
- CPA (Cost per Acquisition) or CPL (Cost per Lead),
- CTR (Click Through Rate),
- and many others.
But there are three very important marketing terms in particular that we believe are crucial for every business owner or manager to know, learn, and understand.
These three terms are SEO, SEM, & Paid Ads.
SEO | Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to your website by ensuring that your site organically appears high on the list of results generated by search engines such as Google & Bing for searches related to your services.
The keyword here is Organic.
Organic means the ability to achieve some type of online growth such as website traffic, leads, likes, or follows without having to pay to achieve them, (aka Digital Advertising).
Platforms such as Google & Bing do not allow companies to pay money to increase their website rankings. Instead, company websites are ranked in order of the quality of their content, domain authority, the number of links from other sites (aka Backlinking), website speed, visitor interaction, overall site functionality/performance, and many more other factors.
SEO is always an on-going process of optimizing, testing, and constantly improving your website. This is because search engines such as Google and Bing are constantly updating their algorithms. Without constant SEO optimization, your website’s ranking can fall quickly on these platforms and become lost amongst endless pages of search results. SEO that’s done successfully guarantees increased website traffic, higher conversions, and a significant ROI (Return On Investment).
Paid Ads & SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
Paid Ads are a form of online marketing. In general, they include two main types of campaigns; PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns & SEM (Search Engine Marketing) campaigns and are commonly referred to as one of the quickest ways to drive traffic to your business online today.
Paid ad campaigns can also be used to promote more general awareness for a company, brand, product, or service. Alternatively, paid ads can simply be used to increase a company’s social presence and to gain more likes and followers. Overall, paid ad campaigns are commonly known to produce some of the lowest cost-per-leads available.
The most common platforms used to run paid ad campaigns are Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
A Winning Combination
For obvious reasons, having a strong SEO strategy in place is the best possible marketing solution for a company because it positions the company to grow and acquire leads organically (without cost) over time. Eventually putting the company in a position where it no longer needs to pay to receive online leads.
However, SEO strategies often take long periods of time to develop and produce results, which means the sooner you start working on your SEO strategy, the better for your company. In the meantime, a company should pair a good SEO strategy with a good paid ads / SEM strategy. This way your company can still grow and acquire leads through paid sources while you develop and grow your SEO strategy.
If a company’s only strategy is to pay-per-lead and does not develop their SEO, they will find themselves in a position where they are forced to always have to pay for leads and can never expect to organically grow.