B2B SEM or SEO, Which Works Better for Lead Generation?

February 2023

As a business-to-business (B2B) company, generating leads is a top priority. After all, leads are the lifeblood of any business, and without them, it’s hard to grow and succeed.

When it comes to generating leads online, two of the most effective strategies are search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). But which one is the better option for B2B companies?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both SEM and SEO and compare their effectiveness for B2B lead generation. We’ll also provide tips for how to get the most out of each strategy.

What is SEM?

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy that involves promoting a website through paid search ads. SEM is often used interchangeably with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which is a type of SEM that involves paying for each click on an ad.

With SEM, advertisers create ads and bid on specific keywords that they want their ads to appear for when users search for those keywords on a search engine like Google. The higher an advertiser’s bid, the more likely their ad is to appear at the top of the search results.

One of the benefits of SEM is that it can drive immediate traffic and leads to a website. When an ad is clicked on, the user is taken directly to the advertiser’s website, making it easy for them to learn more about the company and its products or services.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy that involves improving the ranking of a website on search engines like Google. The goal of SEO is to get a website to appear as high as possible in the search results for specific keywords.

Unlike SEM, which involves paying for ad placements, SEO relies on organic (non-paid) search results. This means that a website’s ranking in the search results is determined by its relevance and authority on the topic, rather than by how much the company is willing to pay for ad placements.

SEO is a long-term strategy that can take time to see results. However, once a website ranks highly in the search results, it can drive a steady stream of targeted traffic to the website.

Which is better for B2B lead generation: SEM or SEO?

So, which is the better option for B2B lead generation: SEM or SEO? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Both SEM and SEO have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and which one is the better option for a particular B2B company will depend on a variety of factors.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding which strategy is the best fit for your B2B company:

  • Target audience: If your target audience is more likely to click on ads than organic search results, SEM might be the better option. On the other hand, if your target audience trusts organic search results more than ads, SEO might be the better choice.
  • Budget: SEM can be a costly strategy, especially if you are targeting competitive keywords. If you have a limited budget, SEO might be the more cost-effective option.
  • Time frame: As mentioned earlier, SEO is a long-term strategy that can take time to see results. If you need to generate leads quickly, SEM might be the better option.
  • Goals: Finally, consider your overall goals. If your main goal is to drive immediate traffic and leads to your website, SEM might be the better choice. On the other hand, if you want to build a strong foundation for long-term lead generation, SEO might be the way to go.

Tips for getting the most out of SEM

If you decide that SEM is the right choice for your B2B company, here are a few tips for getting the most out of your search engine marketing efforts:

  • Choose the right keywords: The keywords you choose will determine who sees your ads and how much you pay for each click. Be sure to do your research and choose keywords that are relevant to your business and have a good balance of search volume and competitiveness.
  • Write compelling ad copy: Your ad copy is what will convince users to click on your ad. Be sure to include your chosen keywords in your ad copy and write a compelling message that clearly explains what your company does and why it’s the best choice.
  • Use negative keywords: Negative keywords are words or phrases that you don’t want your ads to appear for. By using negative keywords, you can help ensure that your ads are only shown to users who are actually interested in your products or services.
  • Use ad extensions: Ad extensions are additional information that you can add to your ads, such as your company’s location, phone number, or a link to specific pages on your website. Ad extensions can help improve the performance of your ads and make them more useful to users.

Tips for getting the most out of SEO

If you decide that SEO is the right choice for your B2B company, here are a few tips for getting the most out of your search engine optimization efforts:

  • Choose the right keywords: As with SEM, the keywords you choose for your SEO efforts will determine who sees your website and how well it ranks in the search results. Be sure to do your research and choose keywords that are relevant to your business and have a good balance of search volume and competitiveness.
  • Optimize your website’s content: The content on your website is what will help you rank in the search results. Be sure to include your chosen keywords in your website’s content and write high-quality, informative content that helps users understand what your company does and why it’s the best choice.
  • Use header tags: Header tags (H1, H2, etc.) are used to organize and structure the content on your website. Including your chosen keywords in your header tags can help search engines understand the content of your website and improve your rankings.
  • Use alt tags and file names: Alt tags are used to describe images on your website, and file names are the names given to the files that make up your website (e.g., images, videos, etc.). Including your chosen keywords in your alt tags and file names can help search engines understand the content of your website and improve your rankings.
  • Use external and internal links: External links are links from your website to other websites, and internal links are links from one page on your website to another page on your website. Using external and internal links can help search engines understand the content of your website and improve your rankings.

Conclusion

As a B2B company, generating leads is crucial to your success. While both SEM and SEO can be effective strategies for lead generation, which one is the better option for your company will depend on a variety of factors, including your target audience, budget, time frame, and goals.

By carefully considering these factors and implementing the right strategy, you can drive more leads to your website and grow your business.