The Importance of Keyword Research for SEO and SEM: Understanding the Differences and Benefits

Intergrate SEM and SEO in keyword research.

Keyword research helps site owners find the terms and phrases people use to find content. It is an essential part of SEO and SEM. Through keyword research, SEO gurus and marketers can also get valuable data on the search volumes and competition level of a keyword. It can also help them uncover longtail keywords they can target in their content.

However, the choice of keywords for SEO can differ from that of search engine marketing. For the best results in keyword research, it’s important to integrate SEM and SEM strategies in keyword research. 

Differences Between SEO and SEM

Search Engine Optimization(SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two different approaches used in content marketing. While SEO focuses on optimizing a website for organic ranking, SEm focuses on getting traffic through Paid Ads. Each of these methods has its benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, most business combines the two to gain traffic and conversion to their sites.

Understanding SEO Keyword Research 

The goal of SEO keyword research is to identify the high-traffic terms that users type in the search engine when finding products and services in your niche. Website owners use a wide range of tools to find the keywords in their niche that have a large search volume and align with their website goals. They also check other metrics on a keyword, such as competition level, trends, and seasonality.

Keyword research also helps in uncovering longtail keywords. These are often search terms with a lower competition level and a high conversion rate. By integrating such keywords in their content and optimizing their pages, site owners can rank for them. With search behaviors changing regularly, SEO keyword research should be a continuous process.

The main pillars of SEO are:

  • Keyword research
  • On-page/content optimization
  • Off-page/technical optimization
  • Link building
Keyword research is a key part of SEO.

Understanding SEM keyword Research

When doing keyword research for SEM, you should do more than find search terms customers use. Check the potential cost of each search term, as the ad cost varies depending on the keyword.

SEM offers users much control over their keywords, audiences, and keywords. Unlike SEO, it allows digital marketers to test their keyword choices and refine them for the best results. The  most common ad formats are:

  • Search Ads
  • Display Ads
  • Shopping Ads
  • Video Ads

Benefits of Combining SEO and SEM

There are several reasons to combine SEO and SEM. These are:

Attain Your Goal Faster

When you combine the right ads with a good SEO strategy, you can easily achieve your goal. Whether it is conversion, traffic, or subscriptions, combining the two will help you reach your goal faster than using one strategy.

Dominate the SERPs

Assuming you implement your SEO strategy well and rank on the first page, you can easily dominate the SERPs by combining organic traffic with ads. When potential customers look at the paid ads, they will see your brand. When they look at the organic results, again, you are there. This can positively impact your business.

Complement One Another

When you combine both campaigns, they can complement one another. You can use valuable SEM data, such as conversion rate and keywords, to supplement your SEO efforts. For instance, by looking at the PPC cost, you can easily tell how competitive a keyword is.

Ability to Retarget

You can use ads to drive traffic to your site. Similarly, you can send organic traffic to an SEM campaign to increase conversion.

How to Combine SEO and SEM in Keyword Research

Using PPC, businesses can get valuable keyword data reflecting their strategy for targeting transactional keywords. A combination of SEO and SEM is a good choice for ad-heavy keywords. This way, marketers can use both to drive traffic and maximize visibility. Here are the steps to follow when combining SEO and  SEM.

Align Your Goal With The Keyword

Before you start using SEO and SEM, you should determine your goal. This will enable you to align your goal with keyword research. Ask yourself what you want to achieve with organic and paid campaigns. Choose the best keywords for each channel depending on the search volume, intent, competition, and relevance. Ideally, you should use different keywords for SEO and SEM.

DO Keyword Research For Both Channels

SEO is a good choice for informational keywords where people want to learn something rather than buy. Such keywords are unsuitable for PPC as they may not generate good returns on investment. Informational keywords have a lower competition level and are, therefore, usually easier to rank on organic SERPs.

On the other hand, transactional keywords are best targeted by PPC campaigns. This is because they have a higher competition level because of their lower level of the sales funnel. When  SEM is used for the hard-to-rank keywords, this can provide instant traffic. It can also make it possible to test for conversion.

Optimize Your Site And Landing Page

Once you have found keywords for both SEO and SEM, the next step is to optimize your website and landing page. You should ensure that you have a fast and user-friendly site. Create high-quality content that responds to the search intent and adds value to the user.

When creating landing pages, ensure they are clear, relevant, and persuasive. Also, add a  simple form, a compelling offer, and a strong call to action. Tools such as Unbounce, Leadpages, and Instapages can help you with this.

When to Use a Keyword For Both For Seo Or Sem

Whether to use a keyword for SEO or SEM depends on whether it can convert. With an integrated approach that combines SEO and SEM, you can leverage the strength of each strategy to achieve a balanced campaign. Ultimately, businesses should check their marketing budgets and target audiences to decide on a strategy that meets their goals. If you have the time and resources to combine both, they can be advantageous.

Keyword research helps in SEM.

Final Thoughts

By understanding SEM and SEO strategies,  businesses can make informed decisions. Both strategies have their advantage. The options that you pick depend on your individual needs, target audience, and budget. 

SEO will offer you long-term benefits and visibility, and PPC will bring immediate traffic and great results. At the end of it all, it’s good to choose a well-balanced strategy that will help you get the best results.

Benjamin is a writer with over ten years of experience in the content writing field. He holds a Bachelor's degree in  Journalism from Strathmore University. He writes on various niches such as product reviews, self-improvement, and making mone online. You can find him curled on his couch with a self-improvement book when he is not blogging.