The Difference between SEO and SEM

Some of the best-known techniques used for the promotion of websites are SEO and SEM. Both are vital for the success of a website. Search Engine Optimisation started being used in 1997, while SEM is a newer technique, which was coined by Danny Sullivan, co-founder of Search Engine Land in 2001.

One of the questions my clients frequently ask me is “What’s the difference between these two techniques?” I think that the best way to understand the difference is by identifying what each is and how they can help promote your website.

In this article, I will define SEO and SEM, and explain the difference between them.

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You are probably familiar with the term Search Engine Optimisation, but the thing is, SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is equally significant. If you want to promote your website so that it is both visible in search engine results and gets visitors, both techniques are required. As you know, achieving high search engine rankings are extremely important. If your website isn’t found at the top of the search results, then you are guaranteed fewer visitors, moreover, high-ranking websites generally have better credibility and trust with customers and this leads to more sales.


SEO are techniques used to improve a website’s rankings. Search Engine Optimisation has two concepts. On-page optimisation consists of a variety of techniques applied to a website, such as quality content, Meta tags, keywords analysis, deep-linking, posting blog articles, keywords in URLs and site maps. Off-page optimisation consists of different strategies that exist external to the website itself, such as having a business page on social network websites, creating business listings on business directories and so on. While all this may sound like an easy thing to do, I can assure you, it’s not. A lot of work and effort is required to succeed with SEO, so I suggest you hire a professional Gold Coast SEO to take care of these services if you’re unsure as you can do more damage than good if you do not apply your SEO correctly.


SEM refers to different online marketing techniques used for the promotion of the website. Like Search Engine Optimisation, SEM includes a variety of tactics, but in this case, it involves creating advertising and marketing campaigns, which are displayed on search engines result pages and other websites to promote a site. SEM includes advertising models such as pay per click (PPC), Google AdWords, placing the ads on websites owned by other people, and advertisements on Social Media networks.

These techniques are similar and closely connected because both techniques, Search Engine Optimisation and SEM, are used to promote a website. For that reason, many people think that they are the same. That is not the case, and there is a huge difference. If you have a SEO strategy for your business website, SEM may not be included in that strategy. On the other hand, if you are considering the SEM strategy, it will the part of the Search Engine Optimisation strategy, by its definition. As a web site owner, you want to promote the site as best you can, to make sure your website has an excellent ranking position. While one of the best tactics used for ranking improvement is no doubt SEM, I encourage you to use both.


There are different techniques used for the promotion of a website, and SEO and SEM are among the most popular. If you want a successful website, ranking well on the major search engines is crucial. However, you can always do more in order to promote the site, which is why Search Engine Marketing is also very significant and should be the part of your strategy.

SEO and SEM are time-consuming and both require certain skills and knowledge, which is why it is a good idea to hire a professional team to carry out these services for you. You will save energy and money by doing so. We are experts in both fields, so contact Ignition Media today.

For all your SEO and SEM needs, pick up the phone and call me on 07 55 687 515.

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