Today’s matchup: SEO vs. SEM

I read 2 interesting blog posts, one says SEO is the winner, the other says SEM is the winner.

One could argue that SEM produces short term results, and SEO produces long term and more credible results. True. But, it depends on who you are and what your goal is for the future of your business. If you need sales NOW, advertise a special through SEM. Chances are the clicks will start coming. But if you are always going to need sales, and you’ll always have a special, sit tight for a few months and invest into SEO.

It’s statistically proven that more consumers click on the organic results, because they know the other links are paid advertisements. No one wants to be “sold to,” really.

A blog post by Scott Buresh says:

“Study after study indicates people are less likely to click on paid search ads rather than on results from organic search engine optimization. For example, one study found that search users are up to six times more likely to click on the first few organic results than they are to choose any of the paid results, while an eye tracking study showed that 50 percent of users begin their search by scanning the top organic results. Other studies have shown that only 30 percent of search engine users click on paid listings, leaving an overwhelming 70 percent who are clicking the organic listings. And a 2003 study found that 85 percent of searchers report clicking on paid links in less than 40 percent of all of their searches, and 78 percent of all respondents claim that they found the information they we searching for through sponsored links just 40 percent of the time.

Studies are beginning to indicate that the trust level for organic results is much higher than that of paid results, and that paid results are looked upon as a nuisance by some searchers. One study found that only 14 percent of searchers trust paid listings, and 29 percent report being “annoyed” by them. Another study found that 66 percent of customers distrust paid ads. Clearly, it’s not generally a good idea to upset potential customers before they even click on your link.”

Need I say more?