Any web site owner wants to get visitors on their web site. Therefore the web site owners are competing for the same visitors. There is a definite total number of people surfing the web. The number of web sites is growing relatively faster than the number of the new surfers. The majority of the new visitors to most of the web sites are brought by the search engine.
The search engines realised long ago that not every web site can get to the top of the searches for their relevant keywords so they invented the Search Engine Marketing to enable the web site owners to pay for the inclusion in the listing on the right hand side (and sometimes even above!) the natural search engine results.
There are therefore two ways of getting your site listed in Google. One is to optimise your web site and wait for Google to index it and rank it higher, or you can just pay and get listed as high as you want instantly! The problem with the SEM approach is that the moment you stop paying to Google, you have stopped the flow of the new visitors. The problem with the SEO is that it is far less transparent, the results are far from instant. The majority of the SEO Consultants use the month as a measurement unit to describe the best case scenarios of your future ranking increases.
That brings us to the conclusion that both search engine Marketing and search engine optimisation have it’s place in increasing the visitors numbers on your site. It purely depends on the web site goals. If you are in the game for a long term, and are ready to wait for months for the results, but are dedicated to get the majority of the traffic for a set key phrase, the SEO is for you. If ou have a need to get as much traffic as you can ASAP, the SEM is the definite way to go.
The real life examples:
Search Engine Optimisation
If you are a site that sells a product or a service, where there are number of sites selling the same in your market, the SEO is your best friend. In the long run it will deliver far better return on the investment.
Search Engine Marketing
If you have a new product or a service that no one else has jet in your market, and you want to capitalise on your unique but probably time limited position SEM is the way to go for you. SEM sill instantly start delivering, and the cost per visitor is very transparent and manageable. The SEM budget is probably the easiest marketing budget to manage, since it the transparency if the costs. That is why marketing people just love it. Instant setup and delivery and no minimal investment required. In the marketing world the search engine marketing is truly unique.
The attractiveness of the search engine marketing compared to the search engine optimisation made it win many battles. It is far easier to put X% of your budget against SEM that you know what (and when) to expect from, but SEO that is as undefined as …. well, probably nothing a marketer has encountered jet. SEO to be performed on the web site involves editing the web site itself. That means that either the IT department or an external web development company needs to get involved, and the complexity of the project is just growing out of hands or a marketing person who controls the budget.
Search engine optimisation is a strategic decision that has to be made above the marketing department to be able to function. It involves higher management whose time is precious, and since this is a new task for them, it is not likely they will get involved. They will fail understanding that the SEO should not be left to the marketing department to manage, or especially the IT people. SEO consultant will require the IT department to perform a serious of task, so if the IT manages SEO consultants who then delegates back to them – it is a guaranteed formula for troubles and nothing done in the end.
For all those reasons far more companies have invested in search engine marketing than in search engine optimization. The result of that is that there is more and more competition in the SEM. Since SEM operates as an auction, the more the interesting parties, the higher the (bids) prices. The hike in the prices for the important keywords driven by the volume of the advertisers is now making advertisers rethink their online marketing strategies. Search engine optimisation is of course the obvious way to go for those who are in the online marketing game for a long run.
Google: Search Engine Optimization