Home – New Forums Tech talk SEO vs SEM 2013 – Your Opinion?

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  • #982048
    Josh
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    I get asked this question basically every single day and at times found it difficult to explain to clients or even friends.

    Recently I used a super hero analogy and it’s been working quite well to help explanation. How accurate is it? I’ll let you be the judge.
    Superman vs Batman of Search

    I still remember vividly, the heated arguments I’ve had on Skype with other “search nerds” back in 2009. I do believe that after Penguins, Pandas and EDM that the Google climate has changed.

    Soo SEO/SEM?

    #1134519
    Vilson
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    Hi Josh,

    I can say that It Depends on Business. Each business has Different strategy.

    They both have Equal important if it is optimized well.

    For SEO, we must be on first page, Else it is ZERO.
    For PPC, we need to find Best keywords and need to understand adwords in Depth. Google will charge lots to one with some Default settings.

    Regards,
    Vilson

    Create Online Test or Quiz on ScoreBell
    #1134520
    Josh
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    that’s prettttyy much what I tried to elude to in my post, what do you think of Superman vs Batman does that analogy work?

    #1134521
    MatthewKeath
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    I read your article, but I must have missed something.

    Why is Superman SEO, and why is Batman SEM?

    Excuse my feeble mind…

    #1134522
    Josh
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    Haha there’s probably no good explanation, I made SEO Superman due to the “SEO is invincible” mindset, generally in the last few years (not as much now).

    #1134524
    cino
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    I’ve always viewed SEM as short term viability versus SEO as long term viability. It takes time to see results in SEO and that’s where SEM can fill the gap until you do start to do well in organic search.

    Of course you don’t need to dominate every search term with SEO, you just need to do proper keyword research to make sure that the dollars you are putting in will get you the best bang for your buck. For other keywords it may be more viable to stick with SEM but just less of it..

    #1134525
    Bob Jones
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    J0pNSKU.png

    #1134526
    JohnW
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    Hi Josh,
    Enjoyed your article. It is difficult to do it justice within the limits of a forum.

    IMHO, The issue is not SEO vs SEM. Nor is it:

    SEO vs email programs
    SEO vs social media
    SEO vs TV advertising
    etc., etc.

    “Badges” are very dangerous. Sometimes I reluctantly call myself an SEO consultant but I deplore the term. What I’d prefer to use is Internet marketer.

    An Internet marketer should be advising clients to use the information delivery tools that should return the biggest bang for their budget and time resources.

    Can I suggest for future articles you consider a change from focusing on “ranking”. The real issue is “conversion”, IMHO.

    Often the conversion rates for “competitive terms” is much lower than for much longer but less frequently used search phrases. You might want to build this issue into future articles. This can be an Achilles heel for SEM.

    You say, “The age old SEO vs SEM debate is at its climax in 2013”. With respect, I doubt it. We are dealing with yet another round of debate that has been going on since advertising on SEs became a significant information distribution factor.

    The attribute of SEO that you may want to emphasise is its longevity, if it is done properly. To me, this is the best answer and defence if you become embroiled in an SEO vs SEM argument.

    Through all of the Panda and Penguin updates you discuss in your article, it is only those sites who ventured into tactics that these updates were designed to eliminate that were dramatically affected.

    Some SEOs have gone berserk about Panda/Penguin but I believe that most of the Internet world has very little awareness of these issues. Most of the noise about these is being made by those “SEOs” who chose to implement the link manipulation strategies that these upgrades killed.

    Back to Internet marketing…

    If you want to deliver your information to people who have been hurt by using SEO techniques that Google has now decimated, it’s a good article.

    If you are targeting all website owners, then I suggest you have missed your objective. They just don’t know there is an issue, IMHO.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1134527
    Aidan
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    Hi Josh,

    Nice read there!

    Firstly a clarification from my POV in that I believe ‘Search Engine Marketing’ to mean all marketing activity conducted via search engines, it therefore is the umbrella term that includes both SEO and PPC as well as the other flavours of listings.

    (Yup, I know that for some reason in Australia many folk tend to think of SEM as meaning only PPC, that’s a nonsense in my view).

    I understand that conversation you have with clients too as I also have it regularly, for the sake of comparison I put some of my own thoughts together recently for some clients in my article Search Engine Marketing Strategies.

    I have been involved with both SEO and PPC for many years and see pro’s and con’s to both but I see an overriding swing to PPC happening simply because it is the most controllable, measurable and quickest way to develop leads from search activity. It is also relatively free of algorithm fluctuation so you can be pretty certain of no sudden disasters in your flow of business leads. If you have more leads than you can comfortably service, just pause your ads until you catch up!

    I do however also like the dual approach, i.e. use both SEO and PPC techniques to complement each other and maximise lead generation if you can handle the uncontrolled flow from the SEO side.

    There is another caveat to SEO and that is simply that we can assume that Google will continue to expand the amount of screen real estate it devotes to paid listings! In other words that swing to PPC is also happening because that is how Google is shaping the game whether we like it or not!

    Before anyone says “I never click the ads…” thats ok, good for you, cut down your options as much as you like… but… the stats show high CTR’s to PPC ads particularly top of page ones where some folk don’t even realise they have clicked an ad.

    Well written ads get excellent response. I’d much rather get the visitor who has chosen to check my ad out rather than the one who just clicked my listing because it was there!

    The professional marketers will know exactly what I mean with that comment :)

    My two cents

    #1134528
    Josh
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    Thanks for that pic Bob I might have to put it in and credit you! haha

    Appreciate the feedback, comments and critique Scrooge, John, Aidan!
    It is probably a bit of a shallow blog and that’s a good point regarding the term Search Engine Marketing as well. You guys are definitely beyond the blog’s target audience but many thanks for the valuable feedback :)

    Looking into the distant(..maybe) future I wouldn’t be surprised if Google makes their algo so water tight that only true authority sites will rank well. Which will likely mean increase in PPC competition and CPC prices. The day Google PPC costs similar to TV advertising, wonder if that day will come?…

    #1134529
    JohnW
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    Josh, post: 153266 wrote:
    Looking into the distant(..maybe) future I wouldn’t be surprised if Google makes their algo so water tight that only true authority sites will rank well. Which will likely mean increase in PPC competition and CPC prices. The day Google PPC costs similar to TV advertising, wonder if that day will come?…
    Hi Josh,
    If they head down that path then I think they are likely to become the next crop of Excites, Infoseeks, Hotbots, Lycos’, Alta Vistas, etc.

    The reason G owns the search market is because it was much better at delivering relevant information. If it forgets this critical lesson, another property will quickly supplant it, IMHO.

    G must have the gnomes furiously working on improving search results like never before. There are many areas where search results have gone to pot in the last 12 months.

    Egs:

    1. Location Words
    Any location word included in a search phrase and G is terrible. You get numbers reported of between 30-40% of all searches have a location intent in them.

    There are so many searches in this category where almost all G spits out are repetitive pages from different business directories – often out of date. Then there is my “pet peeve”, the space allocated to the world’s most inaccurate business directory, Google Places

    2. Low Competition markets
    The “low competition” search markets are where most searches are made. In these markets I can see some of my client’s pages now occupying the top 15 search places. Nothing I’ve changed on the clients’ sites, it is all due to changes in G’s algo.

    Great for my clients but a terrible experience for the SE user.

    3. Shopping Sites
    G’s last year of algo changes have hurt these badly. News and review sites now tend to get boosted over them.

    I believe people want a damn site more options than G’s current search results give them.

    These sort of issues must be scaring the you-know-what out of G management when they have 60% of their $50 bill turnover precariously balanced on one factor – can they continue to deliver the most relevant search results?

    In the next 13 years, I would not be surprised to see the largest bankruptcy the world has ever witnessed.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1134530
    Josh
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    JohnW, post: 153287 wrote:
    Hi Josh,
    If they head down that path then I think they are likely to become the next crop of Excites, Infoseeks, Hotbots, Lycos’, Alta Vistas, etc.

    The reason G owns the search market is because it was much better at delivering relevant information. If it forgets this critical lesson, another property will quickly supplant it, IMHO.

    G must have the gnomes furiously working on improving search results like never before. There are many areas where search results have gone to pot in the last 12 months.

    Egs:

    1. Location Words
    Any location word included in a search phrase and G is terrible. You get numbers reported of between 30-40% of all searches have a location intent in them.

    There are so many searches in this category where almost all G spits out are repetitive pages from different business directories – often out of date. Then there is my “pet peeve”, the space allocated to the world’s most inaccurate business directory, Google Places

    2. Low Competition markets
    The “low competition” search markets are where most searches are made. In these markets I can see some of my client’s pages now occupying the top 15 search places. Nothing I’ve changed on the clients’ sites, it is all due to changes in G’s algo.

    Great for my clients but a terrible experience for the SE user.

    3. Shopping Sites
    G’s last year of algo changes have hurt these badly. News and review sites now tend to get boosted over them.

    I believe people want a damn site more options than G’s current search results give them.

    These sort of issues must be scaring the you-know-what out of G management when they have 60% of their $50 bill turnover precariously balanced on one factor – can they continue to deliver the most relevant search results?

    In the next 13 years, I would not be surprised to see the largest bankruptcy the world has ever witnessed.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    If G bankrupts… Oh John, the world we know it would end! Well… the “web world” anyway.

    I remember the good ol’ days when I had a piece of paper on my desk with my “favourite websites” and a list of my “top secret super cool websites” hidden in my pencil case… Netscape Navigator how I miss your poorly animated spinning logo :P

    #1134532
    JohnW
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    Josh, post: 153710 wrote:
    If G bankrupts… Oh John, the world we know it would end! Well… the “web world” anyway.

    I remember the good ol’ days when I had a piece of paper on my desk with my “favourite websites” and a list of my “top secret super cool websites” hidden in my pencil case… Netscape Navigator how I miss your poorly animated spinning logo :P
    Hi Josh,
    Don’t despair. It’s not that dramatic. Nothing has changed in the history of the WWW so far…

    There are still only 2 ways to find a web page.

    1. Go find your piece of paper and type the address into your browser bar
    2. Click on a link.

    If you are not clicking a link on a Google page it will be because you have found a better way of finding useful links.

    Keeping track of all the link finding changes keeps the serious Internet marketers employed. :)
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1134533
    Josh
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    That’s a thought right there – death of the search engine in the next decade perhaps?

    #1134534
    MatthewKeath
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    Josh, post: 153822 wrote:
    That’s a thought right there – death of the search engine in the next decade perhaps?Can’t see that happening.

    The vastness of the Internet will mean that a search of some type will always be needed. If not Google, then someone (something) else.

    But, the only certainty of the future is change.

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