It’s common for people to be confused about the difference between SEO and SEM, or even to think they’re the same thing. It’s important you understand the difference between these marketing strategies so you’re not leaving valuable leads on the table.

Let’s talk about the strengths and challenges of SEO and SEM for property management.

Explanation of search engine optimizationUnderstanding SEO for Property Management Marketing

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the use of specific and targeted content to direct organic search traffic to your property management website, making your site appear higher on the search engine rankings. This content can include many features of your site, including:

  • Copy
  • Site speed
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Title of your page

This type of marketing strategy generally costs much less than its counterpart, and it takes a longer time to establish. The good news is, even if results take longer, those results are cumulative.

Finally, SEO is known to be more volatile. Rankings on the search engine can fluctuate regularly.

SEM or Search Engine Marketing on a laptop-minUnderstanding SEM for Property Management Marketing

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. SEM is paying to get your content directly in front of customers on the search engines instead of making them come to you.

A common example of SEM is pay-per-click or PPC. This type of marketing uses keywords, ad copy, and sometimes images to market to a curated target audience. The advertiser pays every time an ad is clicked on, hence the term pay-per-click.

This method of marketing is more hands-on than SEO. Regular maintenance and a/b testing is needed to ensure your budget is being spent in the best possible way.

While some maintenance is required with SEO, SEM maintenance allows for and requires a lot more.

When utilizing PPC, SEM allows your business to appear on the first search page even when your website’s SEO takes a random hit or when you’re building up how many different search terms your website will appear for organically.

Comparing SEO and SEM

Comparing SEO to SEM

Even if you’re organically ranking high on the search engines, your organic listing is still going to land below your competitor’s paid ads. If you’re not reaching the number of leads you want, someone may be running ads that grab those leads before potential customers can even see your listing.

Ads can be far more appealing to the eye than a standard search engine organic listing. But, SEM can be expensive and competitive. Depending on your budget, industry, and location, it may be impossible for your ads to show up for the majority of the searches due to your competitors outbidding your maximum cost per click.

With both options, you are making it clear to search engines that you have what people are searching for by using relevant keywords. This will help the search engine to direct the most traffic to your website and provide more leads.

Now that you know the difference between SEO and SEM, you might be wondering if you need both.

The short answer is: yes.

These two strategies work best when used together. It’s important to spend both time and marketing dollars on SEO and SEM. When one takes a hit, the other one can fill in the gaps and make sure your audience can always find you on the search engines.

We hope you now understand the difference between SEO and SEM. If you’d like to learn more or you’d like some information on how to best utilize your marketing budget, please contact us at Fourandhalf.

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