Jan 05, 2019 - 02:34 PM
I would recommend focusing on paid social and SEM. In these two you can demonstrate ROI to a client fairly quickly and therefore command a higher retainer or salary. While organic traffic converts best out of all sources it takes too long to get results and it is too unpredictable. As a result SEOs don't make as much money as seasoned SEM and paid social pros.
Jan 08, 2019 - 12:57 PM
Many outlets use SEO and SEM as interchangeable terms, so it’s hard to find specific data on whether SEO or SEM is growing faster. In fact, since SEO is folded into SEM, it’s almost impossible to look at the two separately. Basically, SEM gives you the SEO package and then some, since it also involves paid search aspects.
I’d suggest making decisions based on where you can add the most value to your clients. The debate on whether organic or paid results are best rages on. However, no matter whether you think SEO or SEM matters more, SEM offers a better package, since it’s like “SEO-plus.”
Organic SEO is more important than paid search in many ways. For example, organic search accounts for 51 percent of all web traffic, versus just 10 percent from paid search and 5 percent from social. However, SEM requires you to have a solid SEO foundation, plus extra SEM knowledge that some SEO experts won’t have. Focusing there could give you a leg up on the competition.
Paid social can help brands get the “warm” leads that will respond to later SEM efforts. However, paid social is a pretty narrow niche compared to the large worlds of SEO/SEM, and I think you’d limit yourself if you made that your specialty. Your paid social skills are ultimately of less value than your SEM skills that will help you convert those leads into sales.
However, you could probably specialize in any one of the three and find success, especially since you already have experience with each one.
While SEM will likely give you the edge you want, it’s also a good idea to figure out exactly the types of companies you’d like to work for (or industries you’d like to focus on), and make your choice based on which tactics matter most to them. For example, many small businesses benefit more from SEM than SEO, since it allows them to compete with much larger brands in a way that gets quick results.
Jan 10, 2019 - 10:33 PM
It really depends where you want to take your career. SEM and Paid Social are extremely similar and translate very well into each other. These will take you in the direction of media buying and put you on a track more likely to move up in the marketing world with a focus on profit and loss. It will help you gain a better understanding of the full marketing mix and expose you to the money side, working closely with finance.
SEO on the other hand is more of a horizontal function across an entire business. Good SEO will lead to you being an internal educator and policy maker when it comes to websites. It will much more likely lead you to the product side than SEM or Paid Social will. SEO can help you keep up to date with the latest web trends in design, content production, etc.
I would definitely say there is more of a demand for paid social and SEM than there is for SEO, but there are a lot less people that focus in SEO, so the market is still strong. Paid Social is a somewhat new practice that will give you an advantage in discovering emerging media, as SEO and SEM have largely been simplified over their past best practices and have begun to heavily rely on automation (something paid social relies on heavily as well, but older marketers have less experience with the platforms).
It's definitely a personal choice, but I would also recommend going where the jobs are. If you are a good media strategist, you likely will evolve beyond a single channel, so I would still try to keep up to date with as many best practices for all channels as possible, even if you aren't working on them day to day.