What is a search engine?

All search engines work on the premise of collecting data and fetching a list of results from across the internet, based on keywords input into a search engine by users. The list of results are presented as web links that lead to websites with relevant information users may require.

As single and multiple keywords are the main element that search engines use to collect data, they have become a major focus for business owners whose aim it is to ensure that their website links are visible on the first page of search engine results.

The reason for this, is down to the fact that 60% of clicks go to the top three websites in search engine results (source: search engine journal.) This  means that getting your page to the top of search engines can work wonders for driving traffic to your website; gaining you sales, as well as brand awareness.

Although there are a variety of search engines available, Google is the biggest in the UK with an 82.25% market share (source: statistica.). Bing, Yahoo , Ask.com and AOL follow closely behind in terms of popularity.

What’s the difference?


Search Engine Marketing is a paid for service. It involves selecting and paying for keywords that are relevant to your customer and your business.  When a user searches for keywords linked to your advert, your website link (ad) will appear on the search engines first page of results.

All paid for searches are labelled as ads in the search engines results. (See image.)

Utilising SEM depends on your budget and how much you can afford to spend. Google Adwords and Bing Ads are forms of SEM but are also referred to as Pay Per Click advertising (PPC.) With PPC advertising, businesses only pay if their advert is clicked on by search engine users.

Businesses can spend thousands on PPC, however, charities can benefit from signing up to Google Grants for non-profits, which gives eligible charities $10,000 per month (£7,590.35) to spend on free advertising via Adwords (terms and conditions apply.)


Search Engine Optimisation is free and focuses on growing your visibility on search engines organically. This involves utilising and distributing single and multiple keywords throughout content and code on your website. In addition to this, driving traffic and keeping your website and social media platforms updated on a consistent basis also helps to increase the likelihood of your business ranking on the first page of search engines.

All organic search results appear in order of popularity underneath any SEM adverts and are visible when relevant keywords are input into search engines.

Although SEO is more task heavy and takes longer to achieve results, it is the cheapest way to get your business at the top of search engines.

Choosing between SEM and SEO all depends on your budget, but with focus, practise and reviewal of your keywords you can make it happen.

Find out about other digital marketing platforms that can help you increase your digital footprint, sales and awareness of you business and services.

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