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Why SEO Is Better Than SEM

SEO or No SEO: Why Digital Marketing Matters and How It Can Boost Your Online Business

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) both aim to accomplish the same goal help increase the visibility of your brand’s web site and build a strong online presence. However, they’re not inherently the same thing. To fully comprehend how these two very distinctive marketing methods can impact your brand’s online visibility and ranking on Google, you need to know how they function and affect search results. To simplify things for you, we’ve provided brief explanations of SEO and SEM as well as their main components that contribute to your overall rankings.

What Is SEO?

SEO is an online marketing method that’s based off of generating organic search results through optimized on and off site content. This can include blog posts, social media posts, videos, images, infographics, and other types of content that utilize keywords and phrases that people are searching through search engines.

The idea is to create content that’s equal parts enticing, informative, and easy for your readers to understand. Since search engine trends are constantly changing to adhere to Google’s perpetual algorithm updates, search engine optimizers always have their work cut out for them when it comes to staying ahead of their competition.

You can improve rankings by incorporating a strong mix of on and off page optimization into your SEO marketing strategy. On-page optimization includes use of popular keywords in your content, strong URLs, increasing page loading speeds, and producing high-quality content that serves the purpose of your target audience.

Off-page optimizations focuses more on social media posts, providing back links (and making sure they work), and managing your local listings (i.e. Google My Business) to make sure they’re always fully up-to-date.

Dos and Don’ts of SEO


  • Create a unique and effective content strategy that pertains to your business and industry at large
  • Produce well-researched high-quality content that keeps users engaged and provides the information they’re looking for
  • Use back links to direct users to relevant information on your web site
  • Always incorporate keywords as organically as possible
  • When writing research-based content, always include links to credible sources
  • Maintain a consistent tone throughout your web site, one that speaks directly to your target audience
  • Write up a brief CTA at the bottom of each content piece, encouraging potential customers to buy your products or contact you directly
  • Use various types of multimedia to speak to your target audience (i.e. optimized memes, gifs, videos, images, etc.)
  • Make sure all multimedia is properly formatted and resized so it doesn’t diminish web page loading speed
  • Include customized meta descriptions for each piece of content that encourages readers to click on your link
  • Keep content short and to the point


  • Over-saturate content with too many keywords
  • Duplicate content verbatim throughout your site (Google will penalize you for this big time)
  • Use paid links because it’s a waste of money

How Organic Search Results Affect Click-Through Rates

When it comes to producing excellent content in SEO, organic search results are your bread and butter. It’s actually been proven that the main reason SEO is dominating and will continue to dominate the online marketing industry is because users prefer organic content over paid advertising. Studies have shown that Internet savvy users are more likely to ignore obvious paid advertisements on search engine results pages in favour of organic results and answers to their queries.

Every time a search query is entered, Google crawls the Internet for the most relevant results and then presents them to the user using an intricate ranking system. Advertisements are clearly labelled at the very top of the first. Directly below that, the top three results according to Google are listed. While the algorithm is constantly changing, this is all in the name of transparency and making sure readers are presented with the most accurate information. Higher rankings translate to higher click-through rates.

What Is SEM?

SEM is an umbrella term that can include SEO. It’s a type of online marketing that combines paid advertising tactics with organic search results and generate more leads instantaneously.
The basic idea is to drive up traffic to your web site by incorporating paid advertising tactics into your online marketing strategy. Google AdWords is an excellent tool to help you accomplish this. Paid advertising is more targeted. Because advertisements appear at the very top of Google’s search results pages, they’re more likely to be seen first and clicked on either purposely or accidentally.

How Paid Search Results Affect Click-Through Rates

In a lot of ways, paid advertising can be very effective because of their automatic high ranking on search engine results pages. Pay-per-click advertising essentially means that the ad space is sold by Google to brands that are willing to shell out the most money for the spot.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a high return on your investment. Remember, more and more people are becoming attuned to this tactic and prefer to engage with organic search results instead. That said, you might get slightly more clicks simply because your ad is the first thing that pops up on the search engine results page. But that doesn’t mean those clicks will definitely convert into sales.

Why SEO Is the Better Choice

Once users realize they clicked on an advertisement, they’ll most likely navigate away from your web site and this will increase your bounce rates. Higher bounce rates inevitably increase the cost of paid advertising with very little return.

Purely organic results come at a much more affordable cost and fewer losses for your brand because you don’t have to pay for high rankings on search engine results page. As long as the content is well written, thoroughly edited, and properly formatted, it pretty much speaks for itself.

Numero Uno Web Solutions offers extensive SEO and SEM services to help clients build up their web presences, reduce web page loading speeds, improve web site navigability, and help increase online traffic. Contact us today to learn more about our services!

About Adrian Newman, BA

President, Numero Uno Web Solutions

Adrian has been in the performance marketing industry for over 25 years and is the co-founder of Numero Uno Web Solutions.

Adrian has been involved in virtually every facet of direct and digital marketing from copywriting and graphic design to database management and production.

A BA graduate of York University, Adrian has volunteered as a mentor with his alma mater's Career Mentorship Program for students with disabilities and has been a director for public real estate investment trust.