To Pay or Not to Pay

With any tool there will be positive and negative attributes that affect its usefulness, time/ place of use and the results, SEO and SEM are no different in this regard. When it comes to search engine optimization there are a few key items we must consider when deciding which approach to use and how to affect overall traffic. SEO or search engine optimization is the process of utilizing key features as part of a website in order to drive traffic organically. This means that the more search terms that you type, the relevance of your domain name, your content and location all affect how many people are clicking on your site via search engine results (Rose, 2018).

If the world were that simple it would sound like an awesome deal; essentially stay relevant, consistent and offer better content than your competitors and you should be the number 1 Google result in no time right? Unfortunately things aren’t that easy and there are many variables when it comes how fast SEO will work to produce results. In the con area we have a few simple facts; first and foremost competition can be fierce. While you are producing content and trying to reach the top of the leader board so are all of your competitors, this will increase the amount of time it takes to make your site more popular(Rose, 2018). Secondly competitors that are running a SEM campaign will likely still show up above your site in the search engine results and finally while SEO is typically thought to be free It will either be quite time consuming or require attention from a paid agency(Rose, 2018). On the positive side SEO can linger in the search engines once the time investment is made and render clicks, it will also have an exponential effect as it is driven up the rankings resulting in more clicks as time goes on. It appears that SEO is a long term investment and can take 4 to 6 months to produce results; however when it does it pays dividends as the site moves forward(Rose, 2018).

Unlike SEO, SEM (search engine modification) is a method that uses direct means of payment to boost advertising and can be done through a host of online mediums to include search engines, social media sites and affiliates. Two kinds of paid marketing include pay per click and pay per impression which are about as straight forward as one would assume.  Pay per click means that a set rate is paid to the advertiser every time their link is clicked while pay per impression is usually paid to the medium on an average basis of how many people will see the ad (Dreyer, 2017). The pros to such an approach are that the ads can get first page and mass coverage instantly for a fee and break onto the scene against pages with much more time being listed. These ads can also be specified so a specific demographic receives the ad whenever they log on. The downside to this approach is that each ad cost money and can cost quite a bit of money depending on the parameters set forth by the company. Also after the paid time has expired the benefits of being the top result will expire along with the traffic it was generating (Dreyer, 2017).

The utilization of paid and organic searches will ultimately be necessary for the success of a webpage. Paid searches will help in the short term to drive traffic and reach the target audience while organic growth is an investment for the future (Rose, 2018). Cost is typically the primary limiting factors in using paid results over the long term though it can typically generate the most results in a short period of time (Dreyer, 2017). It would also be wise to capitalize on the burst views that come with the paid advertising as the traffic will likely die down as the campaign concludes.



Dreyer, C. (2017, September 07). SEO Vs. PPC: Pros, Cons And A Holistic Approach To Search. Retrieved November 6, 2018, from

Rose, C. (2018, August 26). SEO 101: How Long Does SEO Take to Start Working? Retrieved November 6, 2018, from


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