The difference between Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing may be more than you think.
Search Engine Optimisation uses specific techniques to ensure your website comes at the top of the ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ search results. Search Engine Marketing may go into paid search, where results for relevant keywords are shown at the top as sponsored sites.
At the recent CeBit conference in Sydney, some new e-marketing data was presented which showed something we already suspected: searchers are MUCH more likely to click on natural results.
This, I think, comes down to trust. Searchers trust the search engine to do the work to give them the most relevant results, and they have less trust for companies that have paid to get to the top.
Of the relatively few responses the paid search results got, only the first of these results got any clicks, so the paid search ads still have to be optimised to achieve click-throughs.
Paid search seems to be the easier way. But, to really increase relevant searcher traffic, using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to achieve top natural results is your best bet. And don’t forget to optimise your landing page to convert all those new visitors into clients.