If you’re looking to grow your business through online channels, you’ve probably heard of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. Both help you achieve traffic via search engines, but what’s the difference between SEO vs. SEM?

SEO SEM marketing are two confusing terms when you are not from the digital marketing world, and people usually interchange their meanings with each other. So SEO has a different meaning, and SEM has different, but both work similarly.

One of the major differences between SEO and SEM is that SEO uses organic techniques to get visible on Search Engine Rank Pages, while SEM is paid and totally relies on paid advertising. Furthermore, SEO takes time to come into effect, but SEM Results are immediate.

 SEO is where you totally focus on ranking in terms of organic results. SEM is where you use both SEO and PPC to attain traffic from search engines.

 So, SEM is a wide term that includes SEO and PPC. That is, SEO lies “within” the umbrella category of SEM.

Now that you have a basic overview of What is SEO and what is SEM? Let’s dive deep into the extensive aspects, and how both the terms benefit your business website.

SEO – Everything you need to know

In simplest words, SEO is the practice of making your website as easy to use as possible. Doing this lets search engines identify that your website provides value to the visitors, which ultimately results in a higher ranking. The cycle continues as you work on your site frequently, particularly when you follow the best SEO practices, and strictly adhere to the algorithms as per the search engine you wish to publish your site on.

 SEO involves a ton of different activities both on your site and around the web, which fall into three categories:


  • Technical SEO:

    It is the type of SEO where the focus is to improve the technical structure of a website. While doing technical SEO, the primary focus is to increase the site speed, website crawling, data security, index, and mobile-friendliness among the users.

  • On-page SEO:

    Under On-Page SEO, webpages are optimized in such a way that it will help the search engines to understand their contents. A few examples of on-page SEO activities are using short, relevant URLs, title tags and meta descriptions, alt tags on images on the web page, writing easy-to-understand content, including appropriate keywords in the content, etc. 

  • Off-page SEO:

    This method deals with the offline optimization process. One of the significant parts of Off-page SEO is building authoritative links on other high-ranking websites. This is a process through which we can build and improve our web page’s trustworthiness, not only in the eyes of our users but also in the eyes of the search engines. When a search engine such as Google finds that users trust the content on a particular webpage, it tries to promote the page notches up in the search results.

Paid Search Marketing

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With a perfect and legitimate combination of three types of SEO, your website will be strongly equipped to reach the ultimate goal of organically ranking higher on Search Engine Result Pages.

Everything you need to know about Paid Search Marketing

Search Engine Marketing encompasses both SEO and PPC. Some people assume SEM and PPC as synonymous with each other. SEM involves setting up and optimizing ads and budget setting to place ads on search engine pages. SEM also includes keyword research which helps in planning a targeted digital ad campaign.

Search Engine Marketing includes campaigns such as: 

  • Search Ads
  • Display Ads
  • Email Ads
  • Shopping Ads
  • YouTube Ads

It may take a couple of weeks to see the results when it comes to SEO. The core advantage of SEM is that we can see quick results. With the help of SEM, driving clicks and conversions is absolutely possible in a short period of time. We can also control the ads displayed on a search engine, including the content of the ads. Ideally, both SEM and SEO are part of a common goal strategy that is helping us drive customer traffic to our website. 

Another visible difference is that SEM search results have extensions denoted with the term “Ad” while SEO results have snippets. Search results that come under SEM may include adding extensions such as callouts, phone numbers, and additional links, whereas search results that come under SEO may appear with featured snippets such as answer boxes, the list featured snippets, and so on.

Which one would fit perfectly for your brand?

Now that you know the similarities and differences between the two terms, let us determine which strategy you should implement for your business website. To decide which one to use, we must consider the following points below:

  • Specific Goals:

    If your goal is to get traffic quickly or test a specific campaign, you can implement SEM/ PPC. If your goal is long-term growth, you can choose SEM strategies.

  • Current Performance:

    If your company already has good visibility on organic practices, making optimum use of SEM to skyrocket this performance and increase traffic might be a sound decision.

  • Margins:

    If your campaign has high costs and low clicks, using a combination of both is much more fruitful as you can use insights from your SEM campaigns to improve your SEO performance. You can peddle back your campaigns by following keywords and other SEO practices. And thus, by combining both efforts, you can achieve maximum effectiveness and rank higher on the SERPs.

  • Conclusion:

    SEO and SEM are both equally important for a company to achieve the desired results. SEO might be the solution in certain situations, and in other cases, SEM might be the answer. Sometimes, a combination of both powers. If your business needs SEO & SEM Services do visit us at https://bluecherrygroup.com/