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SEM or SEO – What’s the difference?

A brief explanation

It’s easy to get confused by all the technical and website jargon, so here’s a very brief overview of the difference between SEO and SEM.

Firstly, what do SEO and SEM stand for:

SEO = Search Engine Optimisation
SEM = Search Engine Marketing

Both SEO and SEM are essential marketing approaches to help your website and business be seen by more people online. Both play a crucial role, that can ultimately affect your business success and income.

You may think you have an established or new business and a great looking website, but will it be enough to get you noticed on search engines such as Google?

Quality, strategic SEO and SEM will decide whether you turn up on the first page of Google search results or lost somewhere on beyond page 10!



What is SEM?

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) or paid search engine marketing is a quick and easy way to get listed on Google and other search engines for the keywords that are related to your business. If you use paid search marketing such as through Google AdWords to advertise your business and website on search engines, you pay for every click. This is why it is often referred to as pay-per-click advertising.

Your website will appear in the “sponsored results” sections of the search results page. Paid search engine marketing is great because it provides quick results. You will get the first visitor’s minutes after the launch of your paid search campaign.

Unfortunately, unless you engage in SEO and improving the ‘strength’ of your website for the keywords you wish to be found for you may not get any more visitors to your website as soon as you stop paying! Why…..because if you have done nothing to ‘strengthen’ your website for the keywords you wish to be found for and you are not generally being found organically (When someone does a keyword search, i.e. you don’t rank on Google etc well) for the keywords you wish to be found for then your position with the search engines is unlikely to change.

SEM or pay per click advertising can deliver immediate results for any business and will increase your brand’s visibility and raise awareness of your business online.

With a well-managed Goggle AdWords campaign it will allow you to reach a geographically and demographically targeted audience who is actively searching for your product and services.


What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) concentrates on the regular “organic” results on Google, Bing, and other search engines. If your website is listed in the regular results, you don’t have to pay for each click. To achieve high rankings in the organic search results, you have to develop a strong SEO strategy and good web pages along with good links that point to your site.

In simplicity (and there’s nothing simple about SEO!), SEO comprises of three core areas:

1. Technical SEO

Technical SEO means improving and optimising the core structure of your website. It requires a dive into many of the non-content elements of your website, such as site speed, header formatting, title and description tags, alternate image tags, indexing and more. Technical SEO is about positive user experience and most importantly these days how well your website os optimised for mobile devices.

2. On-page SEO

With on-page SEO, many factors need optimising, including the website content of each page to target specific keywords to search engines, such as Google. This allows the search engines to understand the text and content on your web page, so these pages can be easily found for the relevant keywords. This will result in higher rankings.

3. Off-page SEO

Your website’s reputation and authority are built by the number of factors including quality sites that link to it. The better the link building, the higher the authority. The higher the authority – the better your search result. If lots of other quality sites link back to you, search engines can see your site is more trustworthy, and trust is a very important factor to Google. Trust can assist with better rankings for keywords.

Having a strong SEO strategy is crucial to the success of any website. It’s really important that search engines such as Google and Bing like and understand your website!

What’s Best SEO or SEM?

This will always depend on several factors, including the short, medium and long-term goals, the website ‘health’, and the budgetary dollars available.

It takes longer to get high rankings with SEO, however, fortunately, most websites keep their rankings when they have undergone quality SEO for a medium or long term. In the long run, SEO can be better value than paid search engine marketing, as you don’t pay when someone clicks on your website.

Paid search engine marketing is great if you have the money and if you need website visitors now. If you want to get high rankings that last without paying for every single click, use SEO to promote your site.

If you need help in increasing your online presence and want to find out more, we offer both quality SEO Services and Google Adword Management services to help you gain more leads, customers and sales from your website!


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