I get this question a lot. “Whats more important SEO or SEM?” Let me clarify for those who have no clue what i’m talking about. Search Engine Optimization (Natural Result Optimization) or Pay Per Click (Paid Search Results).
I’ll give you a little insider information … They both are just as important! How about that for an answer.
The people that are searching are not all the same. Some people have different ideas for what they are looking for and not everyone thinks the same way.
Here are your 3 types of Searchers.
The “I don’t know what I want searcher”
They Click on anything, anywhere, that looks good to them. They will click on a Paid Search Listing if it says the right thing. They’ll click on a Natural Search Listing if it’s in the right place at the right time!
The “I know exactly what I want searcher”
When shopping they only click on Paid listings because they think “if someone is paying to be listed they obviously have the money to promote what I am looking for” or “that ad looks too much like a ad, so they must be desperate and I can’t trust a desperate company”.
The “Smart Searcher”
If they know how search works they will look to see who is advertising and consider them players in that industry, then browse though the natural listings to see who is listed on the 1st page and decide where they want to click before they click!
We as marketing people wish everyone was a “Smart Searcher” however we also want all the traffic we can get and all the sales we can generate.
So my answer to the question is SEO and SEM are 50/50 and are both equally important. Even thought it’s going to cost you money you want to cater to all types of “Searchers” because they all can be paying customers or clients!
Here is a small piece of advice, find out where you are listed strong naturally and where you are not. Where you are NOT listed strongly, start advertising using Paid Search and let your natural results do their magic on the other end. As things move along you will know where you need to advertise and where you need to pull back!