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SEO, SEM or both?

By July 18, 2018January 11th, 2019Blog
SEO or SEM - you should use both

When it comes to promoting your business online I’m sometimes asked by customers “which should I choose: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?”. The short answer is that you should engage in both.

What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?

SEO is the process of optimising your website content so that your pages are displayed in a search result for your target keyword phrases. Imagine you own a web design company in Geelong and would like to be on page one for the phrase ‘web designers Geelong’.

In order to do that you would need to apply the following SEO techniques:


  • Keyword research and analysis
  • Web page copywriting to include keyword phrases
  • Each page has unique metadata including keyword phrases
  • Submission of web page URL’s to Google via Webmaster Tools
  • Write regular blogs articles – like this one.


  • Buy backlinks
  • Post guest blogs / articles on other websites with links back to yours.
  • Creating links from social media platforms back to the website blog / pages / product pages.

Hopefully the end result after all the effort is that you are listed on page one. Unfortunately being listed on page one alone isn’t enough to guarantee enquiries. Being listed on page one still only gives you a 1 in 20 chance of someone clicking your website link.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

To compliment your SEO efforts you would also need to engage in Search Engine Marketing. SEM is a more proactive marketing approach to getting your message in front of customers.

Note: Don’t forget that most people need to see adverts between 3 to 5 times across various platforms before they feel like buying from you. It’s a brand awareness and trust thing. Click here for more info.

Examples of SEM

01 Google AdWords – Creating a paid Google AdWords campaign so when people search for your services your advert is at the top of the results.

With Google AdWords you can:

  • Set the location where your adverts are shown. Ie: Geelong
  • Set the time your ads are shown.
  • Set which devices those ads are shown on.
  • Limit the daily budget.
  • Set the bid limit to how much you are prepared to pay for a click.

Cross platform retargeting banner adverts – Create banner adverts and retarget your website visitors.

What is retargeting and how does it work?

Retargeted adverts are your banner ads shown to people across various networks such as Facebook and other website platforms.

The key difference is that your ads are only shown to people who have recently visited your website. Why is this better? It is better because your ads are more relevant to recent visitors because they have already shown an interest in your services.

If you are interested in retargeting website visitors take a look at the website platform Perfect Audience which provides a great solution.


To summarise you really need to engage in both SEO and SEM on a regular basis so potential customers feel confident in buying from you.

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