Difference Between SEO and SEM – What You Must Know

The tough race to make it to the top of SERPs continues! Making it to the top makes you visible to all the clients who browse through the internet to find service and goods related to your fields.  Here we clarify and highlight the difference between SEO and SEM and how you can utilise both to boost your online presence. 

What is Search Engine Optimization or SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a collection of strategies used to ensure that a website is accessible to a search engine and puts the website on top of any search engine. The aim of successful SEO is to gain a high ranking placement in the search results page. The most popular search engines are Google, Bing among others. Being at the top is important because nobody will surf through the thousands of search results. They will usually select from the starting few websites on the search engine. SEO will increase the traffic to a website. SEO is used for organic results and does not involve any money.

The higher a website ranks in an organic result of a search, greater the chance that that site will be visited by users. Tools like Alexa or that of Moz can make your life easier while you try to get the maximum out of your SEO efforts.

Some of its features include:

What is Search Engine Marketing or SEM?

SEM is a more complicated phrase than SEO, and includes different options available to use a search engine’s technology like paid advertisements. SEM includes researching, submitting and positioning a website at the top of search engines.  It includes search engine optimization, paid results and other services that aim to increase exposure and traffic to a site.

SEM offers pay based on clicks. You pay only when a person clicks on your advertisement to view your website. Increasing the quality and quantity of prospects visiting your website and improving your website’s profitability is SEMs goal.

Some of its features include:

  • Keyword research, keyword grouping
  •  Search marketing strategy
  •  Statistical analytics
  • Bid price
  • Campaign management and reporting
  • Search engine optimization and pay per click
  • The ads can be made visible in a particular geographic region where your business exists

The difference between SEO and SEM:

  • SEM is a broader expression than SEO. SEO aims to provide enhanced organic search results; SEM uses the search engines to advertise your website to customers. It sends a more targeted traffic to your Web site.
  • SEO and SEM are not opposing services. SEO is considered a part of SEM services.
  • Business on Internet must be visible in both organic and advertised links and hence both SEO and SEM are necessary.
  • SEM gives you quicker results and can bring in traffic instantly. SEO however increases the traffic slowly but keeps them glued due to quality content.
  • SEO is free of cost while you will have to pay for every click in SEM.

In crisp: You will spend more time on SEO but it is reliable. SEM makes you spend more money but the results are not guaranteed.  Though there is huge difference between SEO and SEM quality content is important no matter how you try to attract audience. If your customers find nothing impressive when they visit your site, chances are that they will not return to your website again. Instead of wasting money on being on the top, you should build a useful and good website which will naturally attract clients.


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