Hello business owner. Are you still going strong, not thinking of revamping your CV? Great, that means you’re cut out for entrepreneurship! Many people bail out when they realise how tough growing a small business can be. It’s a real crazy juggle. And you’re expected to balance a myriad of tasks at once. What you need is someone who can lighten your load. And if that someone can handle all the nitty-gritty at a lower cost, even better.

Let’s talk leads. Are you getting any lately?

Ask any business owner, and they’ll tell you: a constant flow of leads is vital. This year, ensure that the stream keeps flowing—locally and internationally. To make it happen, you’ll want to turn your website into a goldmine of leads. And how do you do that? Enter two strategies: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Some mix up SEO and SEM, but these marketing tools have their differences. While both can generate leads, boost brand awareness, and drive web traffic, they work differently.

First things first:

What’s SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimisation, used to be a buzzword a decade ago, making marketers sound savvy. Today? It’s not so popular, especially among business owners. Why? Well, SEO has become a hotbed for scammers posing as digital marketers. You’ve probably encountered them—those unsolicited emails promising 200 leads, often from a mysterious Canadian sender. Book a call with them, and you’ll realise it’s a waste of time; they can’t even pronounce “search engine optimization” properly.

In essence, SEO involves fine-tuning your website to appear on Google’s first page. And when done by a company like PraizeWorx, it could stay there for months, even years. SEO targets organic traffic, often unpaid. Exciting stuff, right? Here’s more: studies show that 90% of searches happen on Google, implying that SEO can generate about 60% of your leads.

SEO experts study algorithms to enhance website rankings on various search engines—Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com, to name a few.

But don’t just take our word for it; consider the pros and cons and make an informed choice.

SEO Keywords

SEO relies on various search terms called keywords, which vary in length—Short-tail, mid-tail, and long-tail keywords. These include:

  • Market Segment Keywords: Generic keywords linked to your industry.
  • Customer-Defining Keywords: Identifying your target market.
  • Product Keywords: Related to your product offerings.
  • Branded Keywords: Used alongside your brand.

The Pros of SEO

  • Free organic leads: For instance, when someone searches “how to bake a cheesecake,” a baker who’s posted a blog on the topic might snag the top spot on Google.
  • Targeted content for your audience.
  • Multiple search engine coverage, including Google My Business and others.
  • Directs traffic to your website, apps, and blogs.
  • Higher conversion rates compared to other digital marketing strategies.
  • Cost-effective compared to TV, radio, and print ads.

The Cons of SEO

  • Time-consuming and challenging if you’re not an expert.
  • Patience needed—getting to Google’s first page might take weeks or months.
  • Requires investment in quality content—blog posts, podcasts, videos.
  • No guarantees on reaching the first page.
  • SEO specialists can be costly.
  • Risk of search engine penalties for irregular practices.

What’s Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

SEM involves paid tactics for online marketing. Although SEO and SEM both target specific audiences using keywords, they function differently.

In SEM, you pay for ads to appear on search engines. For instance, when searching “Office space to rent in Miami,” the top three searches marked “Ad” on Google are paid.

Most SEM tools allow users to create, budget, and optimise ads with relevant keywords. Examples include Bing Ads and Google Ads.


Ever heard of PPC campaigns? They’re part of SEM but aren’t identical. While PPC and SEM are related, PPC includes other paid ads like Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Google Ads.

Types of SEM Keywords

SEM uses keywords like:

  • Broad Match Keywords: Target interchangeable keywords.
  • Phrase Match Keywords: Closely related phrases.
  • Exact Match Keywords: Identical search terms.
  • Negative Keywords: Terms you don’t want in your campaign.

The Pros of SEM

  • Enhances brand awareness.
  • Improves bounce rates.
  • Ideal for promoting new products and services.
  • High return on investment compared to traditional marketing.
  • Easy to measure results.
  • Boosts online visibility.
  • Pay only for clicked ads.

The Cons of SEM

  • Can be costly, especially with competitive keywords.
  • Setting up PPC campaigns is complex and time-consuming.
  • Managing numerous accounts can be confusing.
  • Requires constant monitoring and strategy changes.
  • Errors in setting up campaigns can be costly.
  • No guaranteed results.

Our Verdict

Wondering which is better—SEO or SEM? The truth is, both are valuable. Each has its pros and cons, as highlighted above. Savvy marketers agree that every business should incorporate both strategies into their marketing plans.

However, executing these techniques effectively can be challenging and time-consuming. Our advice? Find an expert who can do it right for you.

When searching for SEO or SEM specialists, you’ll find numerous results. As a busy entrepreneur, finding the right fit can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Before hiring:

Consider their experience in SEO and SEM. Ask for client testimonials.

Look for honesty—avoid overpromising, under-delivering, or overcharging.

Ask the right questions:

  • How long to generate qualified leads?
  • Can my site reach Google’s first page in two days? (A ‘yes’ means a con artist!)
  • How many previous clients reached the first page? Ask for proof.
  • Traffic expectations per month?
  • Are they a certified SEM specialist?
  • Years of experience?

Need help with SEO or SEM? Email marketing@praizeworx.com today.