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Digital marketing has become the new way many of us work, and has become the basis for many startups and upcoming businesses. While many have probably heard the terms SEO or SEM, what exactly do they mean and how do I know which is the best practice for my marketplace? Here are the basics to help understand a bit more to differentiate between the two styles.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

“It is the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial, or natural search results on search engines.” - @sengineland

This is very common for startups that do not have a large or even any marketing budget. Content is the main focus in this style by using blogs, whitepapers, your website, and any other form to link back to your company. A great technique to help with SEO is to link in other big websites to your content such as Forbes.com or Entrepreneur.com. In doing this, search engines are more likely to pick up your company if intertwined with the more popular ones. Search engines are very smart and use an algorithm to help find the best possible answers. The higher your SEO, the more likely someone is to click on your website.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

“Is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines.” - @sengineland

This type is essentially known as “Paid Search.” For companies with larger marketing budgets, it can be a quicker way to make a name for your company if done right. It is important to first understand marketing strategy (click for 3 tips to improve your marketing strategy). Very common terms one may hear are CPC (cost-per-click), CPM (cost-per-thousands), and PPC (pay-per-click). Essentially it is paying per cent or dollars, depending on the scale and the outreach goals, for potential clients to click on their website and visit. These can be measured by the amount of impressions, clicks, and conversions that are run through campaigns that you may have created. Since not everyone who visits your site will necessarily become a customer, there is a risk of ROI not coming back immediately.

While these 2 styles aren’t for every business, it is a good place to start to understand what you want to potentially come out of your marketing tactics. Many marketplaces incorporate both SEO and SEM, so there is not definitive route for each one. Try each out and see what is the best fit. Give enough time to test with your target market to see if any results occur. One thing I can tell you is that the success will not come overnight. Be patient and make the adjustments or improvements as your marketing strategy goes on.

Topics: Marketing

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