Search Marketing For Jewelers: SEM? SEO? How Do I Choose?
By Katie Kinlaw, Punchmark
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If you currently own a local jewelry business, knowing how to market and advertise is key to acquiring a solid customer base.
Growing your business comes down to knowing where to put your marketing money and understanding the different options in front of you. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between SEO and SEM and how it can impact your business.
What Are Your Goals For Your Local Jewelry Business?
Defining your goals for your business and its advertising is the first step to navigating this process. Ask yourself:
- Am I looking to drive traffic to my website now?
- Am I looking to sustain a steady flow of traffic long term?
- Am I looking to increase my brand awareness?
- Am I educated in the search demand in my target market?
- Do I know my target audience well?
- Do I have a set budget?
All of these questions can help guide you when you think about SEM vs. SEO and what might be the right type of marketing for you.
Understanding Search Marketing
You’ve worked hard on your website, investing the time and dollars to make it user-friendly and engaging. Now what? Well, it’s time to get it in front of your target market. This is where search marketing comes in. However, before we can develop a rock-star strategic digital game plan, it’s essential to understand the terminology.
Here’s a brief overview: Search marketing can refer to any tactic that helps a company or a brand by appearing in the search engine result pages (also known as SERPs.) Search marketing is comprised of efforts to increase search visibility by increasing rankings for specific keyword groups.
In Search Marketing, there are two main categories:
SEO, also known as organic or earned traffic. It requires you to optimize your website to encourage the search engines to show your websites in the results.
SEM, also known as pay-per-click or paid traffic. It requires you to bid on specific keywords to show up in the search results.
SEO vs SEM: Let’s Talk Similarities
Both can help drive traffic to your website. The goal of SEO and SEM is to gain visibility in search results. With better visibility, an increase in traffic should follow.
Both target specific keywords. SEM bids on specific keywords, allowing a brand to show up at the top of the search results by paying for each time a user clicks on an ad. SEO, by building out content-rich landing pages that include specific keyword focuses, encourages Google to rank the brand’s site for those terms over time.
Both require optimization. Neither SEO or SEM is a type of marketing that you can just “set up and leave”. SEM requires reviewing the trends in your account and understanding where to make adjustments to bids, tweak ad messaging, and ensure your ads are showing up for the right terms. Your SEO strategy has to be adjusted as needed based off of changes in Google’s algorithm, an increase of local competitors, and keyword rankings. While it does take more time to generate results, it’s important to stay vigilant of the changes in the digital landscape.
Both drive brand recognition. You want people to recognize your brand name, right? By showing up for specific keyword phrases, this will naturally help with local users’ brand recognition, whether you’re showing up in the paid ads or the organic listings.
Let’s Talk About Differences
SEM requires you to pay for a click. SEO does not. If you show up organically, there’s no cost for that listing. If you’re running ads, you will pay for that visibility.
SEM is immediate. SEO takes time. Bidding on keywords allows you to have visibility now. SEO, as earned traffic, is something that comes with time and investing in fresh, keyword-rich new content on your site.
SEO adds equity to your site over time. SEM does not. Once you stop bidding on keywords, your ads go away. SEO listings, as they are pulled through Google’s algorithm, are free traffic.
SEO tends to have a higher click-through-rate than SEM. There’s a market for SEM; we know it works! However, it is commonly known there is slightly less CTR for paid ads.
SEM allows you to target a specific target audience. SEO does not. With SEM you can not only target bidding on particular terms, but you can target other things like the location of a user, demographics, household income, etc. With SEO you are at the mercy of Google’s algorithm.
So, How Do I Choose?
There are a few things to consider when trying to decide where to place your marketing dollars.
What’s the current status of your website?
How old is your business?
What are your overall goals?
What about your short-term needs?
If your website is updated and has everything it should (beautiful design, good call to actions, and easy usability) and you need to generate traffic now, SEM is the way to go. If your business already has some online equity and your website is receiving an okay amount of traffic but you want to go after gaining better visibility for specific keywords phrases, SEO may be the better option. It will take some time to generate significant results; however, it will be more sustainable long term.
The overall answer is that both SEM and SEO together produce the best results. If you have the budget and the ability to invest in both, do it! As you’re building your organic visibility through SEO, you can generate traffic to your website now through SEM. Once you’ve gained enough traction with SEO, some businesses no longer have to invest in pay-per-click ads to sustain a steady flow of traffic. It’s a win-win.As the market is changing, it’s crucial to incorporate digital marketing into your media mix. Evaluate what your business needs and don’t hesitate to get educated about your market and your options.