Is SEO Keeping up With Paid Ads in 2020?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are very similar terms. There is often confusion between them but in reality, they refer to completely different services. Most of the people that own a business know a little or more about SEO. They explore different ways to help their business rank higher in organic search results in different engines. On the other hand, SEM includes SEO and other paid services.

A combined strategy of SEO and paid ads can kick start a new website’s visibility or help an existing site gain more traffic and more leads.

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

SEO is all the strategies that ensure a website’s presence in search results by a search engine. The objective of SEO is that a website is first among organic search results in a search engine. Internet users rarely see all the result pages when they search for something. The higher a website appears in a search the more customers it will attract. This is why SEO is important for a business.

White Hat or Ethical SEO as a promotion strategy includes a standard set of techniques that help a business rank higher in organic results. Everything follows the rules and is audience focused. Some of the practices they follow are the creation of readable content, keyword analysis, link building, social media links, fast web hosting, UX optimization, security, structured data, and more.

SEO can help local businesses in so-called zero-click results. Zero click means that Google chooses to display only some specific information in the results. This allows the user to become a customer without visiting a website and losing time. Some of them are working hours, contact info, locations, etc. Structured data can also display certain information from a web page. In their turn, they help the user determine whether this result is suited for them before entering a website.   

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Most people include SEO when they build a website, but they often neglect SEM. In SEM it is possible to choose a strategy on how to use a Search Engine, and drive a specific audience to your website. In SEM the owner pays for specific keywords that match the content of their website. When this keyword is used, a paid result of the owner’s website will appear first in search results.  

In SEM, it is possible to offer personalized ads to users that search for relevant things. SEM’s advantage is being able to choose an audience by age, country city, etc. PPC (Pay Per Click) ads using keywords is the number one way to set up an SEM strategy. SEM can be most effective when it drives traffic to landing pages and blog content.

When a Google ads campaign, CTR (Click-through rate and Quality Level are what determines a successful campaign. CTR refers to the percentage of clicks in relation to ad views. Quality level is a score we get from Google and about how close are the things we promote.

SEM campaigns complement SEO, capture leads and they are easy to control cost-wise. Different campaigns focus on Search, display, and shopping. Search includes the AdWords campaign while the display is about banners that appear on different websites. Shopping products from an inventory in search results.

When starting an SEM campaign, keywords can be used in several ways.

Broad and Broad modified agreement

Keywords in the broad agreement will show an add that includes the keyword. In modified agreement, another variable is added with a “+” sign in order to further define an audience. For example, if we sell shoes we might also want to include cheap to attract an audience.

Exact Match and Phrase Match

When choosing a keyword exact match, our website will appear only if the search includes the exact match words. In phrase match, the words me choose can be followed or follow other words. In the first case, the user’s search must include only men’s accessories, while in case two our phrase could be winter men’s accessories.

Negative agreement

In negative agreement, we can exclude words from searches. For example, if our keyphrase is handbag but we only sell women’s accessories, we can exclude “men’s”.


When a user makes a search, the first results on top are paid results, and the ones that follow are organic results. SEO can help to rank higher in organic results and to pay for keywords in an SEM strategy brings you website in the paid results sections. Promoting a business on the internet can include both SEM and SEO. Factors like website speed and how well content is organized internally also help.

Organic SEO it is important to always create new content and build links and social media links. SEO is a long term procedure that helps establish a website’s trustworthiness. On the other hand, SEM can be very helpful when starting a website. Immediate PPC visibility will help drive organic visibility in the future.