SEO vs SEM: Which is Right For Your Business in 2020?


You want to market your company and build your audience. One of the best methods for this is to make sure your company shows up in search engines. You are now pondering whether to opt for organic vs paid search. 

Read on to determine what is best for your business:

Organic VS Paid Search

So what is the difference between organic vs paid search? What are the pros and cons of each approach? First, let us understand the difference between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).


In short, SEO is the method for making your company’s website show up higher and more frequently on a search engine. This is done by searching and implementing the best keywords in your written content, adding contact information to your website, and having a well-designed website.


Search Engine Marketing includes paying for services such as Google Ads to make your company’s website becomes more visible to search engines. Essentially, you are  forgoing the work which SEO entails and paying for your company to land on the first page of search results.

So now the question is, which do you choose? Only you can answer that question, but here are the pros and cons of each for you to make the best decision for your business.

Organic Search

The major advantage of the organic search approach is that it costs nothing but your time and effort. If your efforts initially fail, you can continue to improve upon your website or your content or update your keywords to bring it to the first page of a search engine. The major disadvantage is the lost time and effort. You can spend hours writing the perfect blog post and it still may get lost in the search results. Even with the appropriate keywords, SEO trends change and you may have to spend time going back to your old content and updating it.

The SEO approach is used by all businesses, but it particularly appeals to small businesses and startups. As time-consuming as it may be, this may be the most economical option for your business.

Paid Search

This approach has a higher chance of showing up in the search engines. It has a higher chance of bringing in traffic to your website and your company. But of course, it comes at a cost – literally. While it requires less effort on your part, you want to ensure that your company’s website and its products or services are up to par. You would not want to spend money on an ad on a company that is still in the rough stages – and does not even have a well-designed landing page.

If your business has grown and you have a product that has been refined and is ready to be introduced to the market, this option may be worth the cost.

One of the most popular forms of paid search is, of course, Google Ads.

Choose Wisely

Now that you know the pros and cons of organic vs paid search, you can make a better decision. Do consider whether you can risk an upfront cost that SEM requires or if you can spend the time and effort in making your website SEO friendly.

Marketing can be a challenge, but if you make the right decisions it will be rewarding! Go for it!

The article was originally published on All Top Startups by Thomas Oppong on January 27th, 2020.

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