Digital Marketing Internet

SEO or SEM? What’s the Difference?


At the most basic level SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the use of key words and other techniques to help get your website high in the “organic” results on Google. That was the big thing a few years ago when we first started to understand how the Internet and Google works. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is the next step and uses paid ads PPC (Pay Per Click) and other techniques to get your site in front of potential customers.

Just like traditional marketing Internet marketing costs are determined by how large the market is and the potential return.

Dentists in a small town don’t need to spend much as they will show up on any search just because there aren’t a lot of dentists in town. All you need in a small town is a decent web site.

Dentists in a big city with thousands of dentists will need to spend big bucks to outbid the competition. In New York City a dentist is spending over $100,000 a year to stay on top. Is it worth it?

Mid-size towns of seventy-five thousand to several hundred thousand people and twenty to one hundred dentists seem to be the best fit for SEM. There are too many dentists in town for you to appear on page one by default yet the cost to get listed with SEO and SEM should be no more than $1,000 a month.

Beware of firms selling these services. I have seen and heard of dentists being taken advantage of by vendors who do not understand the dental business. Two of my favorites I am comfortable recommending are TNT Dental and Sesame Communications.

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