What Does SEO Mean in Marketing? And How is it Different From SEM?

What Does SEO Mean in Marketing? And How is it Different From SEM?

Search engine optimisation or SEO is the process of optimising your website for search engines, gaining recognition from search engines such as Google or Bing.

We carry this out in two ways.

The first way is making sure that search engines know what your website is about. This allows your website to rank for relevant searches.

The second way is increasing the online authority and trust of your website. This is so that search engines see it as deserving to rank ahead of your competitors.

You don’t "pay" for SEO directly as such, it's an earned media channel but you will pay in terms of time and working with experts.. Google uses more than 200 factors in its ranking algorithm and it helps to work with people that have done it before.

Search Engine Marketing or SEM is a little harder to define. This is because many disagree on it's definition. But, Wikipedia states:

"Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising. It may also incorporate SEO"

So let's stick with that. SEM is a collective term to describe SEO and paid search advertising (like Google Ads).

If you're a Marketing Manager in need of some guidance on where to begin. Here are 3 simple tips you can action now:

  1. Make sure your website has a XML sitemap. And, submit the sitemap to Google using Google Search Console.
  2. Identify the 3 most important pages on your website. One of them will be the homepage. Check that those pages on your website have keyword rich page titles in the correct format.
  3. Check the meta descriptions for those 3 pages are in the correct format. Include a call to action to encourage people to click through to your site.

If you’d like to find out more about SEO and SEM and how it could help your business, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to help!

Kim Voon

Kim Voon


With over 15 years of experience in search and online marketing, Kim is the Founder of Insight Online. Kim started Insight as he saw an opportunity to build an agency that focuses on business results and strong working relationships with clients.

As the face of the business, Kim will likely be your first point of contact, chatting with you about your work and what you’d like to get done. The best part of his job is meeting new people, getting to know their businesses, and making a tangible, measurable difference for them.

In his spare time, Kim loves playing disc golf, strumming a little guitar and is an avid bookworm.

His favourite charities are Zeal which supports youth in their development over a number of years and Lifewise, an organisation focussed on getting homeless into homes.