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Why SEO will never be replaced by SEM

Recently there has been speculation among professionals in the internet marketing industry that at some point, SEO will cease to work as a traffic generation strategy, and the entire optimization industry will die. The theory behind this is that changing search engine algorithms will eventually render SEO strategies ineffective and useless, as we've seen in the last two months with the latest updates to Google Panda. In general, many people theorize that SEM will simply replace SEO in the future. However, that's not likely to happen.

Despite the fact that SEO refers to organic traffic and SEM refers to paid traffic, there is a general misconception that these two strategies are related because they both rely on search engines. However, this couldn't be farther from the truth, and the reality is that SEO and SEM are complete opposites. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that there are two types of search engines and two types of results: organic and ppc.

The primary reason that SEO will never be replaced by SEM – regardless of organic algorithm changes – is the very nature of organic results. Paid results are skewed because they are the results of an advertiser and therefore are biased and probably product or service related.

Additionally, very few websites and companies overall use PPC or Search Engine Marketing. This means that the vast majority of useful data and information out there is found on organic sources, and the only way to find that data is…well, organically.

Search engines like Google generate massive amounts of money from paid search, but the mainstay of the search industry will always be organic and theories that they'll one day switch primarily to paid results are simply ludicrous. With millions of organic searches being performed every day, it would be nothing short of lunacy to NOT target this monstrous market.

Most of the speculation that SEO will eventually be replaced by SEM is attributed to disgruntled search industry professionals that were penalized or otherwise lost organic rankings as a result of recent algorithm updates. They often see this as an attack on the industry and can therefore justify their claims that the search engines will move away from organic in favor of PPC. However, the fact of the matter is that Google's recent Panda 3 update actually sought to improve the organic results that it returns.

In fact, a great deal of resources and effort has gone into cleaning up the largest search engine's index in the last year. And being that most of what is in that index will be returned in the form of organic results, doesn't it seem obvious that search engines are actually looking to protect organic search, instead of shift to paid search? It should seem obvious, because ultimately, that's the truth.

Search engine optimization will always exist alongside search engine marketing. Just because they are both new and changing industries doesn't mean they're going to eventually disappear. In fact, it's likely that both paid and organic search will forever be a part of our online infrastructure. So if you're in business on the web, it's likely in your best interest to use both organic and paid search simultaneously. Ignoring one over the other is sort of like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

However, it's no secret that good SEO takes time. To find out what your website needs to dominate the organic results for your niche or market, call the number at the top of your screen now for an immediate, free consultation. The sooner you get started, the sooner you'll reach the top.

Chris Vendilli
About the Author
Chris is the founder and CEO of Vendilli Digital Group. In his free time, you’ll find him camping, fishing, or playing beer league ice hockey with a bunch of guys who refuse to admit they’re already over the hill.
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