10 minute read

The difference between SEO and SEM is that search engine optimization is focused on optimizing your website organically in order to drive traffic while search engine marketing utilizes both organic and paid search to gain traffic and visibility.

Struggling with why your search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t getting you overnight results and what you can do to fix it? Struggle no more. The problem is you’re asking the wrong question. The fact is that SEO is an organic strategy; it takes time to grow (that’s why it’s called organic; think plants; you don’t expect flowers to bloom overnight when you’ve just put seeds in the ground).

This isn’t to say that there are ways to achieve faster results when you combine SEO with short-term search engine marketing (SEM) strategies.

Both are key to achieving your business goals because you need money constantly coming in to fund your growth down the road. When combining strategies, you get the best result and return on investment that sustains itself.


SEO Is a Long-Term Strategy That Takes Time to Build Momentum

Long-term SEO focuses on optimizing your website’s content, structure, code, and design so that it ranks higher in Google results, leading to more customers and sales. This includes such activities as:

  • Perform keyword research for words and phrases potential customers use to search for the products and services you provide
  • Ensure easy navigation of your website, including internal links to access pertinent information that search engines can recognize.
  • Write high-quality content that is both easily understood and employs keywords to rank high in search results.
  • Refresh content: Google ranks websites that continually add pages and updates with new content, such as blogs, higher than pages that remain static over time.
  • Build relevant external links to relevant resources (for example, guest blogs can link to author websites, your own blogs can link to sources that recommend your products and service or provide advice on their use) that may also link back to your site; search engines also “like” and to rank higher websites with external links compared to those with little or no external links.

All of these efforts can take 4-12 months to pay off. This is where short-term SEM comes into play.

combine SEO and SEM for fast results

6 Short-Term SEM Strategies That Really Speed Up Your SEO Results

We used the term “organic” to describe long-term SEO as something that takes time to grow. Short-term SEM, on the other hand, focuses on getting your website to rank higher using techniques that get faster results but does require, with some exceptions, a budget outlay.


1. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads

PPC ads most commonly appear in search engine results pages but can also appear on social media channels (i.e., Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn) and other platforms, such as Amazon. You can, for example, run PPC ads across all the Google platforms, including YouTube, Gmail, and third-party websites.

There are all sorts of PPC ads, text ads, video ads, display ads, remarketing ads, shopping ads, local service (aka guaranteed service) ads, in-app ads, local ads, national ads, traffic ads, lead generation ads, sales ads, and that’s just to mention a few. As the name implies, you pay when someone clicks on the ad, but this is no guarantee that the click results in a conversion or sale.

Google admitted during its Anti-Trust Trial that clickthrough rate is a ranking factor and buying clicks with Google Ads counts.

This is a short-term and almost instant SEM channel. But be careful, you can run through your monthly budget pretty quickly if not set up and managed properly by a human.

The industry standard ROI is for every $1 spent, you get $2 back. Our average ROI with pay-per-click ads is $25 back for every $1 spent! We charge a fixed investment to set up the campaign and a 10-20% monthly fee based on your ad spend to manage the ads and constantly improve upon the results. It pays for itself.

Click Fraud Blockers Reduce Wasted Ad Budget

For Facebook and Google ads, we also offer an instant savings tool that not only pays for itself but also combats click fraud. Spam bots, disgruntled ex-employees or customers, and competitors click on your ads just to waste your budget. We partnered with a company called ClickCease to prevent most of that fraud and spam waste to make sure your ads get in front of actual decision-makers within your targeted audience. You experience immediate results within 24 hours of having us implement it

Our clients save anywhere from 18% to 60% of their budget every single month while this click fraud software is installed. Depending on your monthly budget, that can mean thousands to tens of thousands saved each year, further improving your ROI on Google and Facebook ads.


2. Link Building

Long-term SEO relies on users sharing your content online or other websites linking to your site because they like your content and find it useful. But, used as a short-term SEM strategy, you can pay for links.

Be forewarned, though, that there are a lot of paid link-building scams that violate Google standards. If Google detects these violations, it can result in penalties that negatively affect your search engine rankings. It is difficult and costly to recover from these penalties and restore SEO “respectability.”

YEXT Is a Great Way to Purchase Quality Links Without Penalty

There are some safe ways to pay for link building that achieve quick results. As YEXT partners, we can safely purchase about 80 high-quality links, saving you about $200-$300 annually.

YEXT links are listings and profiles on third-party websites and apps such as FourSquare, Bing, Yahoo, Google Business Profile, Facebook, Apple, Yelp, Alexa, YellowPages, Chamber of Commerce, DexKnows, and EZ Local, among many others.

If you own a physical location such as a restaurant or clothing store, you should experience a boost in phone calls, reservations, and in-store shopping. The average return on investment is 169%, with a payback period of 5 months.

Citations Are Great When Capped

Citation building is similar to YEXT but focuses on quality links in general, regional, and industry categories of the internet. Citation building helps build prominence and tell search engines your business is trustworthy.

We recommend up to 120 general listings and up to 15 regional and industry listings. This gives you the biggest bump without wasting your money. Citation listings are manually created and take about 30 days to implement; you should start seeing a local presence bump within about 90 days.


3. Email Marketing

There’s a lot that goes into email marketing (which means time and expense), but it still has one of the highest returns at $44 back for every $1 spent. While it may seem used and abused. ignore it at your peril.

If you have a CRM with a lot of email contacts, make use of them. If you don’t, you can buy a targeted list from a reputable lead generation company.

You can also develop an email list simply by asking visitors to your site for their email address. How does that work? Put a CTA (Call-to-Action) button on a blog post to download a white paper, or sign up for a regular eNewsletter, or even receive a complimentary product trial, gift, or discount coupon. And how do they qualify to get any of this? By providing at minimum their email address.

Use your growing email list to notify customers of a new blog post, new product, sale, and just about anything else to drive traffic to your website and improve sales. You should start seeing good results in about 3 months with this short-term SEM strategy.


4. Referrals & Partnerships

Referrals Used as an SEM Strategy

The cost per acquisition of referrals is relatively low compared to many other marketing channels, while the close rate and retention rate are very high. Plus, the results are pretty fast. While some say this is a long-term strategy and not even SEO-related, we beg to differ.

Referrals are a short-term strategy. While you are always trying to get more and more referrals because they close quickly and easily, you will eventually need to expand to other marketing channels in order to continue to grow.

As far as SEO is concerned, often the referrer only provides the referee with a staff member’s name, company name, or phone number. When this happens, they get on their phones and search for the person or company online. They can’t find you if that information isn’t optimized on your website or shared on a third-party profile. And when they click on it to do a deeper dive into who you are, the signals to search engines that people are interested in you which makes you more digitally trustworthy.

Partnerships Used as an SEM Strategy

Similar to referrals, partnerships and affiliate marketing are great for long-term and short-term SEM success. The only real difference with partnerships is that partners are more likely to actively seek out people to refer to you because they receive some kind of incentive for each referral they bring you.

And affiliates, are usually linked to your website or marketing materials from their channel or blog post to promote you for a fee. Every time a user clicks, it gives you more credibility with search engines and drives more traffic to your site which is good for SEO.

We had a locksmith company partner with an established security system installer. While neither offered each other’s services, they were constantly asked if they did. So instead of losing that business, they earn money on the backend, referring business back and forth to each other. By adding a link on their existing website to their partner’s website, not only gave their SEO ranking a boost but also helped get them even more referrals than just word of mouth.

It doesn’t cost them anything, doesn’t waste time, and adds another revenue stream that continues to grow.


5. Google Business Profile

An example of free short-term SEO is a Google Business Profile (formally called GMB or Google My Business). Not only is GBP free, but you can start seeing results in as little as 3 days, depending on your area and competition.

All you need to do is fill out a form asking for basic business and contact information, a website link, and answer a few questions to build out your GMB page. You can also include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), gather positive reviews, and even post videos and notices of upcoming events.

A further benefit is that you can search terms that your clients/customers search on Google Maps and flag any competitor trying to cheat the system and not follow Google’s policies. As a result, your profile will move up in Google search and map results. You can see results from your GBP flagging within 7 days, which is how long it takes for Google to review your submissions.

We offer Google premium profile services that provide a quick return that improves over time. The estimated ROI in the first year is 50%, and 500% after 3 years for GBPs.


6. Social Media

While you can pay to run ads on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, you can also post organically for free. These posts can be about new product announcements, special promotions, notifications of new content, funny videos, or just about anything that might drive traffic to your website.

You can also use social media for influencer marketing. An influencer is anyone who posts on social media with sufficient followers (we recommend between 1,000 to 10,000) that, in one way or another, aligns with your business. You have to market to the influencer, i.e., persuade them why they should market you or provide an incentive (monetary or otherwise) to market you, who in turn promotes your business.

It also means creating content that gets the attention of your targeted influencers. Think of it as word-of-mouth marketing and networking, only conducted virtually.

Because of the versatility of social media, it is considered both SEO and SEM, long-term and short-term strategies. You can experience results immediately or more slowly depending on how aggressive you want to get and how much you want to spend.


Combine Long-Term SEO and Short-Term SEM Strategies for the Win

So, which is the better approach, long-term SEO or short-term SEO? The fact is, you need both SEO and SEM weaving strategies into each other while staying focused on your goal.

You want to incorporate long-term SEO and short-term SEM strategies and services together in order to speed up results and get the money flowing. If you focus only on the long term, then you’ll have no traffic, leads, and sales coming in for, well, a long time. If you focus only on the short-term, then you get trapped constantly thinking only in short-term actions while your competitors play the long game.

Think of long-term SEO as the war and short-term SEM as the battles. You learn from the battles to win the war, and both are necessary in order to be victorious.

Tag Marketing offers several monthly inbound pricing packages that combine long-term and short-term inbound marketing and optimization to achieve significant ROI for small to medium-sized businesses. Local, national, and e-commerce.

Book an appointment to discuss your needs, wants, timeframe, and audience. Then, we will provide you with a custom solution along with deliverables to reach your goal.