Even in 2020, many modern businesses still consider Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to be completely separate areas of their digital strategy. In some cases they may even be viewed as alternatives to one another, invested in one at a time rather than as a combined effort.

This marks a significant missed opportunity to reach potential customers. According toBrightEdge Internal Data, an average of 83% of search engine traffic comes from organic SEO, while 17% is generated by paid search. It’s not hard to imagine the potential online reach for your business, when leveraging both of these strategies in tandem.

While SEM aims to provide instant paid traffic for your website, SEO is a longer term strategy that can pay high dividends in the form of free ongoing traffic. By using paid advertising to highlight promotions and special offers, combined with organic rankings to provide users with trusted information, it’s possible to capture potential customers across every corner of the search results pages.

So, how do they help one another? 

SEM and SEO strategies are often reliant on each other for success, providing vital information to help improve overall digital performance. Organic traffic performance data can form the backbone of a well-targeted SEM campaign, providing insights into where the site is already performing well, and those areas where the business needs to supplement with paid activity until organic rankings can be achieved.

SEM appears at the top of the search results, thereby being the first brand messaging that a user sees. When partnered with SEO efforts, a brand can potentially dominate the entire section of above-the-fold content, showcasing paid advertisements at the top of the page with organic results directly below this. When local business listings are also added to the mix, a potential customer can be targeted in three different ways within a single search.

Using SEM and SEO together provides the best opportunity to bring traffic to your site both in the short term and the long term, enhancing your business’s online success.