SEO vs SEM Strategy | Which Works Better for B2B Lead Generation?

By Roman Berezhnoi April 15, 2021 168 views

SEO vs SEM Strategy | Which Works Better for B2B Lead Generation?

There has always been a debate about SEO vs SEM strategy for lead generation. This is because the answer isn’t straightforward for B2B lead generation. Therefore, to find the best strategy for your business, you need to consider the pros and cons of both. Also consider the benefits of both strategies against your business goals and research well to get the best.

Read the article to explore both the strategies and how they can be beneficial for your B2B business when put in use.

Search engine marketing what is it?

According to some experts, SEM is a broad term of strategies that can greatly help a business improve its search visibility. An SEM strategy includes SEO, social media marketing, PPC, etc. However, today the experts refer to SEM only to paid advertising (PPC). To keep things simple and explain SEM, we will use the second definition.

For those who are unfamiliar with the PPC, they are the ads that businesses pay for to appear better in the search result pages. Further, every time a user clicks on the ad, your business will pay a specific amount of money to Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo or any web search platform.

Search engine optimization what is it?

SEO is a cluster of strategies used by the businesses to improve or enhance their organic search engine results visibility. In contrast to the PPC ads, the organic search engine results here are granted according to the algorithms of search engines (Google, Bing, Naver, DuckDuckGo) which are based on different factors. In simple words, the organic results are decided based on the potential usefulness of a web page to the searcher.

An SEO strategy tries to incorporate what the purchasers want, and the factors search engine algorithms prefer. Generally, the experts prefer SEO because it is the most popular way to improve the overall rankings. On the other hand many business owners doubt about the effectiveness of an SEO. Is SEO worth it for your business?

Search engine marketing (Pay Per Click) Benefits

Search engine results page position

The biggest benefit of using a PPC is it guarantees good positions in crowded result pages (SERPs). By running an effective PPC strategy, a business can easily put its website pages on top of search results. This offers the companies a chance to stay on the top of search engine result pages for many keywords. Also, using the strategy, the new brands can compete with the bigger brands.

The strategy depends entirely on the amount a company can pay. It is possible for a company to appear above their competitor’s organic search results, which will increase their odds to catch the attention of potential customers.

Now, the Google Ads can appear on the top, or bottom of the result page depending upon the readers’ search. Thus, it is the paid search that gets the best spot in the Google results. It is even more beneficial when the search is from mobile devices.

This thus shows a business cannot get the desirable place on the search engine result page by following SEO best practices. But with SEM strategy, they can acquire the number one place in organic position.

Result speed

Another benefit of the PPC strategy is the quick setup of Google Ad campaigns, which can get clicks the instant it goes live. While on the other side SEO marketing strategy requires time to develop an effective strategy and even more time to drive in potential lead generation.

Ease of strategy adjustment

When it comes to SEO or PPC campaigns, it is easy to tweak. For instance, consider your campaign isn’t working well, but one of the group’s ads is doing better. The difference is the ad includes a local keyword in the heading. Thus, this suggests the addition of a local keyword to the other ads to help get better results.

Similarly, integrative adjustments for SEM strategy are simple and take only a few minutes, depending upon the campaign’s structure and size. However, when it comes to SEO, the expert will need time to update the strategy.

Good for testing

In contrast to SEO content, the PPC campaigns come with a beginning and end date, generating leads for years. As a result of speed, short time, and ease, SEM or PPC campaigns are a great way for testing.

For instance, with a new business, you might not be sure about the keywords the buyers will use. By testing various keywords within an ad group, you can find the most appropriate keywords that will bring lead conversions. This way, you can manage the amount of data and then use the information for your next PPC campaign without putting in many resources.

Search engine optimization benefits


When it comes to SEO marketing strategy, the biggest benefit a business can get is the relatively low cost. This is why many businesses prefer hiring an SEO expert who is able provide the proper SEO strategy but not spend on pay per click.

With PPC, the business owners pay for appearing for a specific keyword. Now there are various businesses that want to appear their ad for the same keyword, but there are not many slots for ads. As a result, the business is complete by bidding money for the search result’s best spots.

This means the business that will pay the most will appear more often when someone searches for that specific keyword. Thus, this makes the PPC or SCM strategy expensive.

Potential for long run results

The PPC strategy can be used to attract the instance the campaign goes live. But once you turn it off, there will be no results. Given the expense of PPC clicks, it is generally a short-term strategy that supports other marketing efforts.

On the other hand, SEO takes time but will work the best when the business has identified the buyer persona. Now, as you create content such as blog posts, videos, and guides, they have the potential to drive in leads for months and even for years when optimized from time to time.

Thus, it can be said PPC is a lead generation strategy while SEO is a marathon. When the right strategies are used, SEO is capable of bringing long-term results to the investment.

SEO drive better results with specific keyword phrases

There are instances when the PPC competition is too steep that is where it is easy to rank in the organic results with SEO content. When the keyword ranking difficulty is low, it is quite easy to grab the number one organic spot with SEO. There are several ways a business can be used to evaluate if they can earn a good ranking for a specific keyword. At F5 Studio we use a “query space” approach. This approach allows a company to take top positions in the SERP for search queries and to drive the relevant traffic to a company’s website.

The goal must be to use the best keywords in the website content, which addresses the customer’s questions about those specific keywords. Further, being informative with the content will help serve the purpose well, as you will provide the resources that they want and your business adequate leads.

SEO vs. SEM: Which is best for your B2B business?

In most cases, the businesses can benefit from both SEM and SEO, but as the resources are limited, how to know which one is the right for your B2B business?

In case you are willing to develop a strategy that helps drive leads for months or even years, SEO is the best strategy for your business. With the content you produce today, you can get visitors to your site for a long time.

While if you are in a hurry to get the desired amount of lead on your page, SEM is an attractive option because it will offer you the right results.

Finally, if your business has both short-term and long-term goals, then a mixture of both strategies will work best. Professional digital marketers can help you to create the proper web marketing for the best results.

How is the competition?

Businesses can easily find low-cost yet valuable keywords for targeting PPC campaigns. But in case those keywords have serious competition, the best strategy is to use those keywords with SEO and then consider using less competitive keywords with PPC campaigns.

With SEO, your business has a great chance of attracting many leads in cost-effective way. The organic results will be there every time a visitor searches for your target keywords.

In contrast, PPC is the best strategy one can use when there are less competitive keywords to help bring in searches with high buying content. But keep in mind if your website is outdated with no appropriate landing page and insecure, you need to work on your website first. We recommend to hire experienced web developers to improve your site. As the first impression attracts the customers, you must have a well-designed and secure website that reinforces the customer that you are a professional and their personal information will be safe when they continue to use your website. What is the сost of developing a professional website? As you can the cost of a business site depends on some factors. A good web agency help you to find the optimal solution.

In the same way directing the PPC prospects to the customized landing pages will reflect the same message as the ad, which is more effective in converting leads than simply sending the prospects to a generic page.

However, there is the question of SEO vs. SEM which is beneficial?

Combine both SEO and SEM for better B2B lead generation

Ultimately, all the business firms have adequate resources to use both SEM and SEO strategies to get B2B leads easily. The B2B search engine marketing can be used efficiently to drive the leads and valuable traffic quickly while building organic ranking strength with SEO. When used properly, both strategies can drive the best results.

This thus clears the conflict of SEO vs. SEM.

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