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The Difference Between Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine marketing is the process of gaining traffic to your website through paid advertising within the search engines.

This type of marketing strategy is also known as Pay Per Click (PPC).

Typically paid advertisements are shown at the top and to the right of the organic search listings.

The position of the paid ad is dependent on a few factors, these include;

  1. The Cost Per Click (CPC) of the keyword being targeted
  2. The competitiveness of the targeted keyword
  3. How long the Pay Per Click Campaign is running
  4. How much has been invested to keep the paid advertisement (listing) shown

Paid listings or advertisements for the targeted keyword can be paid either “per click” or as a flat fee to run for a specific amount of time.

Once the listing (paid advertisement) has received the set amount of clicks (visits) it’s then automatically removed from the top of the listings and paid advertisement section, or indeed if the allocated amount of time has accumulated, same is applicable – the paid ad is automatically removed and no longer visible.




The Difference between Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and SEO

SEO also known as search engine optimisation differs from search marketing in the fact that SEO is focused on gaining traffic organically by earning natural listings within the search engines.

Listings gained using SEO and digital marketing don’t have an expiry or paid conditions (within the search engines that is).

In many cases, local business and companies will have employed a 3rd party SEO and digital marketing agency to manage, maintain, promote and earn natural, organic listings and traffic.


Does SEO Work With Search Engine Marketing?

SEO and SEM are two separate and very different processes used to gaining targeted traffic to your website.

They both are albeit different, both work towards the same goal.

That being, attracting traffic (visitors) to a website that convert into contact and sales.

Search engine marketing and SEO (Search engine optimisation) are both paid processes or services if you like, each focused on increasing your websites conversions.

When it comes to Search engine marketing it’s a good idea when conducting your keyword research you separate your keyword in two groups.

  1. Keywords of low to medium competition being targeted using SEO
  2. Keywords that are highly competitive are best targeted using SEM (Pay Per Click

Search Engine Marketing


Search engine optimisation is often used in conjunction with search engine marketing, providing a broader scope for attracting targeted traffic for both highly competitive keywords and keywords of low to medium competition.

By implementing a dual strategy in this way, it can greatly increase a websites exposure and conversions – that don’t solely rely on paid listings.

It’s recommended to aim for a mix of both, depending on the goals, budget and industry of your company.


Final Thoughts

Search engine optimisation and search engine marketing are both valuable strategies that can provide a far broader online presence for a companies website.

That said however,

It’s not advisable to delve into search engine marketing (PPC) in the hope of throwing money at paid listings, with the aim of gaining traffic that converts into sales and contact – straight away.

What can happen if search engine optimisation is not implemented alongside SEM, a website may well gain the visitors, but if the site is not complete, user friendly or at the very minimum on page SEO has not been completed. You’ll soon find the investment in paid listings (PPC) has been a complete waste of money.

If you’re interested in search engine marketing and keen to gain added exposure within the search listings, we can help!

We also provide complete SEO and digital marketing plans, tailored to your company, customers and most of your goals!

Get in touch, we’d love to talk!

Email us – projects@serveonly.com

Call us – 0141 374 2374



Lizzie Thomson
Creating, developing and imagining is the place I love the most! Great websites take more than just great design. A great website, deserves great digital marketing! Web Design and Internet Marketing both parallels that drive the addiction I have for the fascinating world of the web! Digitally crafting concepts into completion and making websites be the best they can be in both performance and design, is my daily drive and commitment!

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