SEO vs SEM vs Remarketing: What they can do for your business

Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing and Remarketing are three areas that are critical to the ability of any website to attract customers and convert sales. 

Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing and Remarketing are three areas that are critical to the ability of any website to attract customers and convert sales. With more and more car buyers venturing online and exploring dealer websites and carsales to research their next car, their potential impact and return for Australian car dealers has never been greater.
Sometimes these terms and acronyms are difficult to distinguish and incorrectly interchanged. To make things clearer, we’ve taken the difficulty out of the acronyms by analysing what they can do for your business and where they impact a buyer’s purchase journey.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of enhancing the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's natural or organic results. Generally speaking, the higher or earlier a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors the website will receive.

Optimising your SEO can be challenging as Google algorithms are often tweaked to deliver a better experience for searchers. Website structure, device compatability and use of key terms can have a big impact on your SEO effectiveness.

One way to enhance your SEO is to add engaging and relevant content to your website that search engines such as Google find and rank to match to user search queries.  This method is often perceived as an economical way to rank in organic searches, however producing fresh, unique and relevant content frequently can be time and cost prohibitive.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a form of online marketing that involves the promotion of a website by increasing its visibility in search engine results pages through paid advertising. 

SEM helps to ensure that your brand message is more visible to buyers when they’re creating a shortlist, comparing models and hunting down a deal via a search engine such as Google.

Unlike SEO, SEM gives you complete control of how you present your brand and message to people searching for products and services.  

SEM also enables you to create ad extensions that make it easy for customers to find specific information such as your address, contact details, special offers and service bookings. 

Best of all, SEM campaigns are only charged per click, meaning that your business can potentially receive thousands of free brand impressions on applicable search engines.

When seeking out a partner to help you with Search Engine Marketing, look for a Google AdWords Premier Partner – the highest level of certification provided by Google. 


After the customer has visited your website, it’s likely they’re still in their purchase journey and may move on to another website to continue researching or to add more options to their shortlist.

Remarketing is a powerful solution that helps convert active buyers with repeat exposure to your stock listings. It keeps your stock front and centre as buyers move on to other websites. Consequently, it’s an effective means of bringing qualified buyers back to your website or encouraging them to contact you directly.  

Remarketing is a great next step after you implement a successful SEM campaign that drives new customers to your website, as you will have a greater pool of customers to remarket to.  

Like SEM, Remarketing is charged per click – potentially delivering thousands of free brand impressions that help create further awareness, consideration and intent with buyers.


Facebook Remarketing

Facebook Remarketing operates in the same way to remarketing on Google, but rather than showing your ads across a wide range of websites – such as those related to news or real estate - your ads are displayed on the Facebook website or app.

Facebook Remarketing can help complete the loop with your carsales listings as buyers will often jump on the website or app to gauge influential opinion from their friends, existing owners and auto experts.

For younger demographics, Facebook has also replaced newspapers and news websites as their main source of news – making it a powerful retargeting platform given the sheer volume of interaction these buyers have with Facebook every day.

According to a Facebook IQ study, 71 percent of all respondents used mobile during the purchase process. And 58 percent say that in the future, their smartphone is likely to be the only device they use for all their vehicle research.*


For more information about using Search Engine Marketing and Remarketing to elevate your advertising effectiveness, contact your Performance Manager or Ad Specialist.