SEM or SEO ? That is the question

SEO and SEM are two completely different things as you will probably already know. SEO is the process of naturally getting your website to rank for the keywords that you know to be profitable and valuable for your particular website whereas the SEM process allows you to pay for the privilege of a certain position in the SERP’s. However, you might not have realised by Google’s Adwords program as well as the Bing program can actually be useful and help you when it comes to SEO. Read on to find out exactly what we mean.


Google Adwords will NOT directly affect SEO

Google AdWords

Before we start talking about how Adwords might be able to help you when it comes to SEO, we first need to talk about what it won’t do for you. There are a lot of people out there that believe that when you pay for an Adwords campaign, you will actually end up improving your search engine position because Google uses this information to determine the nature of your website.

This is NOT the case. Having an AdWords campaign will not directly increase your SERP position as this is against everything that Google stands for. However, there are a number of things that it can do for you indirectly and a number of ways that you can use the information you find from the campaign to help you in your SEO process.


Using Google Adwords information to further SEO campaigns

Google Adwords Admin

Now, let’s talk about how you can use the Google AdWords program to help your SEO campaign. Basically, you can use the Google AdWords program to test out your keywords that you have in mind. In order to explain what we mean here, we will use an example website (that I’ve just made up). The website is for a website design company based in London who are currently looking to get more visitors to their website through increased rankings. However, one of the problems that they have is that they do not know which keywords convert for their business or how much traffic they are likely to get from a particular keyword.

In order to determine this, they decide to set up a Google AdWords campaign to see what the outcome is. Now, they think that the keyword ‘web design London’ is likely to get them a lot of business and they are wondering whether to focus their SEO efforts on this keyword. The company has a landing page that is optimised to convert into sales. Let’s say that the keyword has a monthly search volume (according to Google AdWords) of 5,000 per month on an exact search.

What the company is going to do is to use the Google AdWords campaign to determine whether this would be a good keyword to target. Here’s what they do.

They set up a Google AdWords campaign for the keyword that points to their landing page. they are hoping to see how many people click on the ad and then how many of those people actually convert to sales. They leave the AdWords campaign running for a month and these are the results that they find.

Results for ‘Web Design London’
Clickthroughs: 120
Sales: 5
Average Value of sales: £220

Now, the company can use this data to see whether or not it would be worth optimising their website for that particular keyword and trying to get it to rank.

From the data, we can see that out of 120 clickthroughs, the company managed to obtain 5 customers. This is a conversion rate of around 4 percent. The data also showed that the average value of each of these five sales was £220 meaning that the company made £1100 from the campaign. Now, for the campaign, the company actually spent around £500 but the cost of building the websites for the clients had a cost too, meaning that on the adwords campaign, the company actually lost money.

However, they can see from this data that the keyword would be worth optimising for as there is a monthly search volume of around 5000 and with 40 – 50 percent of people clicking the first result on Google Page 1, the company knows that if they could get this position naturally, they would see around 2000 – 2500 visitors per month of which they would have a 4 percent conversion rate. This would be between 80 – 100 csutomers per month with a value of £220 each. This would total £17,000 – £20,000.

Now, the company is able to confidently say that their landing page converts well and that they should optimise for the keyword.


Building links through AdWords

Another thing that AdWords is good for is getting links to your website. Let’s say that your website offers a free widget for finding businesses in the local area and you run an adwords campaign for a keyword such as ‘free business widget’. You can place a link within the widget and although it might have a cost to you, there will be a lot of new links gained from the AdWords campaign.

There are many other ways that you can use an AdWords campaign for getting links too and this is just one example. Video content, news content and many other types of content are also extremely powerful.



AdWords is often a feature of Google that can increase your SEO and SERP position through methods that are indirect. You can use the data that you find from the AdWords campaign and use it to your SEO advantage or at the very least, use it to buidl links.

You should be careful with any AdWords campaign however and you might find that you know upfront you are going to lose a substantial amount of money. It is for this reason that you need to ensure that the reward from the data you find is great enough to cover the costs.

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