Should I invest in SEO, SEM (and SMM), or both?
The Good, Fast, and Cheap Rule says that you can only choose two options.
- Good and Fast, but not Cheap.
- Good and Cheap, but not Fast.
- Cheap and Fast, but not Good.
In general, you can think of SEM/SMM as being fast and expensive, while SEO is generally slower but less expensive.
But there’s more…
Unfortunately, nothing is ever that simple, and many other factors can influence outcomes.
For example, in a market with few competitors online and no other mitigating factors, your site can rank highly in under a week with just a basic SEO program.
But in a very competitive market, the top placements can become ongoing contests with your site swapping places with competitors endlessly. In such cases, investments in SEM can help break the tie.
The Bottom Line
In the most typical case – when funds are available – we recommend a blended model that starts with SEO and SEM/SMM, but which phases out paid advertising as SEO position gains strength.