What’s The Difference Between SEO And SEM?

In today’s world marketers are in a dilemma whether to utilize SEO or SEM for attracting website visitors. The answer is simple: both can be utilized for the purpose although in the case of SEO one will get free organic traffic whereas, in the case of SEM or PPC for each visitor of a website you need to pay.

If you are a marketing managers or owner trying to figure out which practice to adopt then this blog will help you in understanding the differences that exist between SEO and SEM.
So, let’s begin.

What are SEO and SEM?

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is the practice of internet marketing that incorporates promotion of pages of websites by paid advertisements simply by enhancing their visibility in search engine results pages. SEM involves SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for adjusting and rewriting the site architecture and content of a website for achieving the desired outcomes.

What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

The main difference between SEO and SEM has been described below:

At the focal point of SEO is the optimization of a website in order to receive traffic from organic search results. Whilst, SEM emphasizes receiving traffic from paid searches.


What is better for the marketing of business?

Visualizing from the perspective of business marketing both SEO and SEM all well capacitated for Digital Marketing but required to be evaluated from the grounds of:

  • Turnaround time
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Potential risks

What is more time-effective?

Study shows that it takes nearly three years for new websites to rank on the first page of Google. On the other hand, it takes three to nine months to achieve aspired results by adopting the practice of SEM. Therefore, a mixed approach of SEO and SEM will better to executed.

What is more cost-effective?

Although it looks lucrative SEO is capable of ending up in more costing as it takes more time and DR plays a prominent role. Optimizing the website, hiring content writers for SEO, and implementing competitive strategies might cost more.

In the case of SEM money can be spent instantly and performance can be tracked simultaneously that helps in building on the right keyboard and optimizing the cost of the campaign.

Henceforth SEO is suitable for long-term campaigns whereas an SEM will be perfect for the short-term campaign.

What are the potential risks?

  1. Sporadic changes in algorithms of Google will lead to loss of website visitors. Therefore, spontaneous competitive strategies are to be adopted in the case of SEO.
  2. Over the years CPC is increasing henceforth proper SEM advertising strategy is essentially required to be adopted as costing is one of the potential risks of this particular practice.

For startup businesses, SEO is recommended, while for enterprises SEM is advisable.

Which one should be utilized by you?

Adhering to the advantages and disadvantages of both the practices recommended that you should adopt and implement both SEO and SEM for business marketing.

When should one use SEO and SEM?

  1. SEM should be used for overly and low moderately competitive keywords.
  2. If you have a sizeable budget for marketing and want to meet the goals quickly, you should use SEM.
  3. SEO should be used for Limited budgeting and when you have no time constraints
  4. You can use SEM if you are capable of managing AdWords accounts and can launch alongside landing pages.


With the help of this blog, a concise picture of SEO and SEM has been presented. The differences have been stated that will help you to evaluate and understand the practices and adopt them wisely considering the advantages and disadvantages.