Search Engine Optimization Versus Search Engine Marketing In 2015

SEO versus SEM in 2015As a full time Internet and affiliate marketer, I am constantly being asked by my peers whether to focus on search engine optimization for my websites, or putting together search engine marketing campaigns that would drive targeted traffic to my landing pages.  Looking at how things have changed over the years in terms of successfully ranking websites, I can honestly say that it is getting more difficult with each algorithm update to successfully rank websites higher in the search engines.  Can it still be done?  Of course it can…but trying to figure out the magic formula can take a lot of time and investment.

When it comes to putting together a Pay Per Click campaign using one of the many popular ad networks, it is actually a lot easier to start to drive traffic to my landing pages.  When it comes to search engine marketing, their is always a monetary investment needed to get going.  Whether you start small with a ten dollar a day budget, or you big time it with over a hundred dollars a day for your campaign, you need to ensure you have some start up capital to get your PPC campaigns off the ground.  Given that a lot of affiliate companies have a NET-30 pay period, you must ensure that you have enough money up front to keep your campaigns running while you wait for your affiliate payments.  This is probably the greatest barrier to search engine marketing and why I started with SEO before learning SEM.

I was speaking to another blogger who runs a firm focused on Sacramento SEO, and he had mentioned that the biggest difference between search engine optimization and search engine marketing is the time it takes to get things working.  If you are willing to pay for traffic and have a need for it right away, creating a search engine marketing campaign is the way to go.  If you are not in a huge hurry to get traffic, and do not want to spend money on a daily basis, put in the time and effort to build a good foundation for your website, generate quality content, and your website will eventually rank naturally in the search engines.

We all know that every site should eventually rank organically in the search results; however, that does not guarantee high rankings for your targeted keywords.  Building rich content revolving around your keywords is a good start, but also ensuring that your on page SEO is on point is something that is critical.  Once you have a solid foundation, you can start working on your off page SEO.  The off page SEO can be more difficult to perform as it revolves around things that are out of your control.  Getting other niche relevant websites to link to your website content is key to building authority to your website.  Links from other authoritative sites in your niche show the search engines that you are providing good content and help boost your ranking.  Other factors that are important in 2015 are social signals.  Whether it be Facebook likes and shares, Google Plus’s, or Twitter re-tweets, all of these things can effect how well your website ranks in the search engines.

Search engine optimization has been a challenge for some time now.  The days of just blasting hundreds of thousands of poor links with targeted anchor text at a website are dead and gone.  Performing the right combination of what the search engines are looking for while providing high quality content to your visitors is a process that can take months or possibly years in order to rank highly.  The search engines would much rather you participate in PPC campaigns using their ad networks.  The search engines make a majority of their profit from advertisements and would much rather you pay them, then try and spend your time keeping up with their algorithm changes.  In my opinion, it is better to just pay the search engines for an ad spot for your given keywords.  You only have to pay when someone clicks your ad link, and most often then not, they are someone who are actually interested in what you have to offer.  It is a lot faster to get qualified traffic and you don’t have to worry about losing your ranking due to a change in the search engine algorithm.

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