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Where should you spend your budget - SEO or SEM?

Are you struggling with your marketing budget and wondering where to spend your money? Paid ads like Google Ads or investing in organic traffic and writing attractive content like blog posts? You are not alone.

We are often asked how to think about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Which one gives the best ROI and is the most cost-effective. We have therefore gathered here some of our experiences on the subject.

The time aspect of your digital marketing influences the choice

There are several aspects to consider. Do you want fast results? Then SEM, or paid advertising, is the best option. However, you are bidding against several others who also want to be seen, so you need to find the keywords that are most relevant and most profitable for you. Alternatively, make sure you have enough room in your budget to compete on keywords.

SEO more cost-effective

Are you working with a leaner marketing budget? Then SEO, or producing content in the form of blog posts for example, is a more cost-effective option. Here, however, it's important to think long-term and have the stomach for it. You probably won't notice results within the first 6 months, but once you do you'll have a much higher return on investment.

SEO or SEM for maximum conversion?

The next aspect to consider is conversion. Once you've started driving more traffic to your website, you obviously want them to convert into customers. Especially since you have invested time, money and energy in producing content that is relevant to your target audience. Paid ads via Google Ads, for example, can often have a higher conversion rate.

But why is that? Well - the landing page. If you compare two different pages, one designed to be indexed organically and one designed solely to convert, there is a significant difference. Organic pages contain lots of text, which is necessary for the page to be indexed by search engines. A landing page, on the other hand, can be much more stripped down and focus directly on what you want the reader to do, such as downloading a guide or buying your service/product.

However, these pages do not rank as high and therefore will not drive as much traffic on their own. So think about how your landing pages are structured, whether they are fit for purpose and how you can have strong CTAs but still write content that is indexed.

Meta ads as an alternative to SEM

There are of course cheaper alternatives to Google Ads, such as Meta Ads (Facebook). However, as Meta Ads grows, it will become more expensive than it is today. So ask yourself what your needs are. Do you want to drive traffic immediately, at a high price or are you looking for a way to cost-effectively drive traffic to your website? If the answer is the latter, SEO and organic content is the choice that gives the highest ROI.

Always measure your digital marketing results

Having said that, we come to something extremely important - namely tracking. To know that you're actually writing engaging content that's relevant to your audience, that they click on, you need to look at the data. Set up tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console and look at how your visitors are getting to your website. What keywords they're using. What pages they visit. Then tailor your content marketing accordingly so that you're communicating with the right audience.

Tips for getting started with your SEO work

So how do you go about getting started with your content marketing and SEO work? Here are our tips on how to prioritize your marketing budget:

Focus on SEO. It doesn't matter if you are a new entrant or an established player in the market. Regularly producing relevant content will pay off in the long run.

Set a reasonable budget and, above all, a reasonable content plan based on your circumstances. Make sure that these are in line with each other so that you have both the budget but also the time and opportunity to actively work with your content marketing.

If you need help with this, you can download our content planning template.

Start thinking about CRO (conversion optimization rate), i.e. how to get more visitors to convert to customers. We can talk about how to do this forever, so more about this in a separate blog post.

Start small. Just as it's not a good idea to start your running training with a marathon, it's also not a good idea to aim to produce two posts a day if you don't have the capacity to sustain this over time.

Dare to start small and put it at a level where it feels manageable and where you can establish continuity. Preferably one post a week but then produce relevant content that is engaging. And you don't know what is engaging? Try it. Look at your newly set up tracking tools and learn from what your visitors are clicking on. Write more about it.

Have a nice day!

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