Why SEO & SEM are complementary, not independent

Why SEO & SEM Are Complementary, Not Independent

You should stop thinking about SEO & SEM as if they are independent of one another. If you still think that they are unrelated, then let me tell you that you’re wrong, and I’ll prove it.

Learning how to use SEO & SEM together will improve the exposure and SERP results of your website. Let’s start with the basics, let’s define the concept of each.


“SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural" or unpaid ("organic") search results”.


“SEM is the process of gaining traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. It is also called paid search and sometimes referred to as CPC (cost-per-click) or PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, because most search ads are sold on a CPC / PPC basis.”

How Do They Relate to Each Other?

The two main reason why SEO & SEM are very closely related.

1. Both SEO & SEM Use Keywords

Main reason is, SEO & SEM both use keywords to drive traffic to a webpage.

People will use search engines to search for something that they’re looking for, and they’ll be able to find it by the organic results (SEO) or by the paid results (SEM).

2. The Main Goal of Both SEO & SEM: Acquiring Traffic

Both are important to get and drive traffic to our websites. We need traffic in the short term and long term. The short term goals are related with SEM and longer term goals with SEO.

SEO can be very effective for driving traffic, but is hard to quickly see results when pivoting from one keyword to another.

That’s why we like to say that SEO requires hard work which is applied to a mother’s  love, nurturing a child. It often takes several months or longer for SEO to generate significant levels of traffic.

On the other hand, SEM can get you fast results. It's not free, but it can help you drive ample amounts of traffic to your site while you're waiting for the results of your SEO campaign to kick in.

“Think of SEO as your long-term traffic tool, and think of SEM as the short-term one”

How Keywords Are Used in SEO & SEM

To get the maximum traffic and maximum exposure, use SEO to gain traffic for your most important keywords and SEM for your additional keywords, rather than using each for the exact same search terms.

Once your SEO campaign starts showing results, using SEO and SEM in tandem can lead to powerful results.

one where you can benefit from the very happy situation of having searched for your keywords see search engine results pages (SERPs) with multiple links (both paid and free or “organic”) to your website. This results in a much higher likelihood where the searcher visits your website!

Since visitors, to Google and other search engines, use keywords to help them find the pages, it's important that you regularly do keyword research to keep your lists updated.

SEM is more advantageous than SEO for driving traffic from highly competitive keywords, and you don't have to use the exact same keyword choices in each one

By strategically using SEO and SEM together and doing smart keyword research through a solution like Google's AdWords Keyword tool, you can maximize traffic to your site.

Check out these landing pages to boost your conversions today

So How Do SEO and SEM Actually Work Together?

When done correctly, the two complement one another extremely well.

Your SEO efforts reward you with organic listing gains. SEM helps you create more effective and targeted advertising campaigns that help your website visitors navigate to your site with keywords that you don’t rank for, organically.

When working together, SEO and SEM are stronger than either would be working individually. The important factor to remember is that both are only as good as the website you are marketing.

If your website doesn’t provide the minimum level of quality that Google expects (things like original content, creativity that wasn’t plagiarized etc), your SEO and SEM efforts will easily go unnoticed.

Start your content creation by creating a website your users will love and optimize your marketing around it from there.

These landing pages are sure to drive traffic

A. People Trust Brands They Are Familiar With

Create trust by getting your business’ to appear in your visitor’s searches. If your brand appears twice, both in organic and on paid results, a SERP will create more brand awareness and amplify your brand's credibility.

If you are presented with two different options for the same thing, which brand would you  choose? the brand that you are more familiar with and know the name of or the brand that is completely new to you?

According to a study by Nielsen Research - when a brand appears only in organic searches, the link receives 60% of clicks, whereas if a brand appears in both organics and paid search results, the brand attracts 92% of total clicks.

Likewise, when paid listings are shown alongside their corresponding organic listings, the click-through rates (CTR) of paid ads increases.

This means that clicks increase for both organic and paid listings when they are both featured on the same SERP and do not detract from each other.

B. SEO & SEM Together Shows You What Works Best

Using SEO and SEM services gives you a clear idea of which parts of your marketing strategy need improvement.

By looking at your analytics from your PPC campaign, you can discover which keywords your customers are searching for.

You can reuse those keywords mentioned, in your website or even incorporate them into your meta descriptions the HTML code that describes your website to search engines and the text that appears below your website name on SERPs).

Be careful to make those keywords fit in the flow naturally. Avoid going  overboard with keyword stuffing, because you will incur penalties from Google such as decreasing your SERP rankings.

C. SEO & PPC for Link Building

Successful SEO is all about fresh content. Creating and sharing valuable content is an awesome way to promote your website. However, it can be hard to get people to see it.

Using paid ads to spread this content is a great low-cost way to promote your content to plenty of users that would never see it otherwise.

Facebook, for example, is a relatively cheap solution. With paid content promotion you are bidding on long tail, unbranded keywords, which should be relatively cheap.

If your content is good, people on social platforms that are browsing cool and useful things may enjoy it and share it, especially if enough people see it.

So you can use PPC to promote your SEO!

D. Where SEO Fails, PPC Can Help

Think of PPC as a backup to SEO. SEO isn’t an exact science and will often fail you, it is difficult. PPC can be used as a short-term solution when this happens.

The keywords that are worth money, but don’t rank organically, are the ones you don’t want to miss out on.

PPC and SEO can work great together if you know where your strengths are in each one!