Difference between SEO and SEM

In the world of website marketing or Digital marketing, SEO and SEM are the terms that come first to everyone’s mind and we all abide by the principles. If you design your websites like a professional having unique features and good user interface enriched with high-quality information still if you lack the traffic of visitors in your site, then it is of no use. Hence, to attract visitors to your site and making an increase in traffic in your website.

SEO and SEM are the two important mechanisms of marketing to attract visitors to your site. Both of them are related to the marketing of your site. SEO stands for “Search engine Optimization” and SEM stands for “Search Engine Marketing”.

SEO is defined as “The process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial or natural search results on search engines.” While SEM is defined as “the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines”.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is continuously evolving due to the ever changing Google algorithms. But in a whole, SEO is divided into two main categories- On-page SEO and Off-page SEO.

On-page SEO consists of:

  • Optimized Meta data, including the page title tag, Meta description, heading tags, and image ALT tag, which incorporates target keywords.

  • Well-written and optimized page copy that incorporates target keywords.

  • Simple and well-formatted page URLs with selective keywords.

  • Optimised page speed.

  • Social sharing integration within your content.


Off-page SEO consists of:

  • Link building to attract and obtain quality inbound links which are known as “Backlinks”. This makes up the majority of off-page SEO.

  • Social signals (e.g., increasing traffic to a website from social media sharing).

  • Attracting attention from social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Digg and Stumbleupon.

SEO runs through the two different procedures of On-page and Off-page. SEO requires and holds a large part of creating valuable and important, high-quality content to reach out to the visitors about your site’s uniqueness and attracting visitors to your site thus, and increasing traffic on the site.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM involves earning search visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) through paid advertisements on the search engine like Google, etc.  These advertisements are known as Pay-per-click (PPC). SEM activities include cost-per-click (CPC) ads, paid search ads and paid search advertising.

PPC advertising allows you to target potential buyers through relevant ad copy and keywords that match their search queries. These ads show up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) next to organic listings, which gives your company the opportunity to increase the visibility of its web pages, landing pages, blog articles and more.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SEO and SEM

Which is better? SEO or SEM?

So here lies the main question which one is better, SEO or SEM? According to various statistics, records and Page rankings in Google, It can be evaluated that SEO is a necessary condition before SEM. SEO works as the foundation of SEM because without landing pages, web pages and blog content optimised for search, your SEM efforts will fall flat due to poor quality, and visibility in the SERPs will be extremely difficult. Organic is less costly and a long term procedure and is good to follow.

Whereas, if you are starting your own site and at the very first you need to have a little bit of visibility in the search engine rank pages then With a strategic PPC campaign, you’d be able to achieve this. What you shouldn’t do, though, is rely strictly on PPC long-term while ignoring organic SEO.

Now you have the vivid idea and concept of the difference between SEO and SEM and now you can choose when to use one and why and about its consequences and so that it can be maintained long term for the betterment.

Hope you are having a good experience with us. Thank you.

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One thought on “Difference between SEO and SEM

  • August 20, 2018 at 11:49 am

    this article really helped me to clear my doubts regarding the two terms, now I would focus primarily on page then only would go for sem for better engagement


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