What Is the Difference Between SEO and SEM ?

What Is the Difference Between SEO and SEM

SEO vs SEM is a word that may come to your mind when you want to market your business online.

As of today, everyone wants to grow their business online, and in this process, SEO and SEM play a vital role.

If you also want to grow your business then SEO and SEM are two marketing concepts that you need to clear. If you are here then chances are you are confused on which is best for marketing purposes SEO or SEM.

In simple words, SEO is a free way to drive traffic on your website and SEM is a paid way to drive traffic on your website. But the discussion does not end here, you have to understand some points then you are able to clear the difference between SEO vs SEM, for which stick with this article until the end.

What is SEO?

When we think about online business then the first thing which may come to your mind is a google search bar, and then the results of your search queries and the online business are fully based on that.

In simple words, SEO is an online practice in which you have to optimize your website to rank in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

When you search any query on Google then you get lots of results but in order to rank on the first position of those search results is very difficult because google uses more than 200 algorithms to rank any website on SERPs. Due to that much effort, you have to follow and understand all those 200 algorithms to rank on the SERPs of Google.

To make it easy to understand SEO is divided into four parts –

  1. On-Page SEO
  2. Off-Page SEO
  3. Technical SEO
  4. User Interaction Signals SEO
  • On-Page SEO

This is one of the easiest and important parts of SEO all the effort which you make to raise your website in search results On-page SEO takes 75% part of those efforts.

This is a process of optimizing a website for a good user experience and all the text you read on the website is optimized around targeting keywords. The main work of On-page SEO is – using keywords in the title tag, using keywords in the meta description, keywords in URL, using targeted keywords in the first and last paragraph of a keyword.

All these types of work come under On-page SEO and these works will complete 75% SEO of your website.

  • Off-Page SEO

This is also one of the important parts of SEO, the main work of Off-Page is to make trust in search engines. If search engines trust you then it will be easy to rank on any keywords.

Making good-quality backlinks, and writing a guest post to raise the authority of the website comes under this section. All these works build the trust of your website over Google and then ranking on any keyword becomes easy.

  • Technical SEO

This is also one of the important parts of SEO in which you have to focus on the crawlers are able to crawl and index all pages or not. When we write or add any page on a website then the crawler of search engine crawl that page and if that page is perfect according to all terms and conditions of search result then index that page on google.

So, website owners also make sure that all the pages of their website will properly crawl and index on google because when your page is an index on google then only you are able to compete with your competitors.

So, the work like – speed optimization of a site, proper web development of site according to a user, page optimization, theme selection are comes under this section.

  • User Interaction Signals SEO

Customer feedback and analyzing customer interaction is the key to success in any business, this concept is also applied to online business. So, the way a user interacts with your site helps you to understand that which part you have worked.

Analyzing the bounce rate, user timing on-page, and opening speed of website are comes under this part of SEO. If the user moves from your page then the bounce rate will increase and this shows that your page is not providing proper information.

So, after understanding all parts of SEO, I think you are able to understand how SEO impacts the marketing of a business.

What is SEM?

After understanding the concept of SEO and how SEO work, this is a time to understand what is SEM?

In simple words, SEM is a part of SEO means you have to do all the works which you read in SEO but with that, you have to include some more terms like PPC, bidding, Ad copy, e.t.c.

So, in SEM you have to do all the works which you do in SEO and after that, there are more terms on which you have to focus about which we discuss below.

  • Biding

When you see any ads on google search then this is the main work of SEM which happens due to Biding. When you want to rank any keyword then you have to place your ad and pay a bid for that and you see your ad on google search.

But what if your competitor also placed an ad on that same keyword then which ad will show up?

To solve this problem the biding concept will invent, which means the person who pays more on keyword their ad will show up. So, to rank your ads on google search is based on how much you are paying to rank on that keyword.

When anyone will click on your ad then only you have to pay for that, and this concept of the bill is known as PPC.

  • Quality Score

Google has a metric to check the quality of ads and to check the quality score of ads is based on a combination of click-through rate and the views you get. In simple words, the quality score is in the ratio of views and click you get.

If your ad has a high-quality score then you will get a discount on each click. So, try to make quality ads.

  • Ad copy

Writing compelling ad copy or making an attractive ad can reduce the amount you pay because a great ad copy will attract more users and it will give you more clicks. Now, according to google if your click ratio is good according to views then you get a discount on each click.

So, if your ad copy is compelling and attractive then you have to pay less amount and on another hand, the opposite of this concept is also true, which means if your ad is not able to attract more users then you have to pay more amount.

  • Ad Account Management

As I said earlier that you have to pay according to the click you get on your ads and to rank your ads you have to choose keywords. Now, to get more views and more good results you have to choose more keywords which means more ads. So, managing ads on different keywords is an art.

You also have to learn proper knowledge about Google Ads accounts to optimize your amount spend. In this optimization, you have to keep in mind that how you can spend less amount to get a good result.

SEO vs SEM – Which you have to choose

After understanding the concept of both marketing strategy this is a time to get a proper answer on SEO vs SEM.

SEO is something that takes time and you have to do lots of effort, but you have to do all those efforts in SEM also. So, the main difference between SEO and SEM is speed.

The fact is SEO takes lots of time to show results that’s why the SEM concept raise which give you fast result in your business.

According to some trusted sources, the SEO will show results within 2 years, which means if you search any small keyword on google then all the websites which rank on the first page, most of them are those who start their website 2 or 3 years ago.

No, I am not saying that if you choose SEO then you have to wait for 2 or 3 years to see the result, this fact is for small keywords, which means you can rank within a few months if you choose long-tail keywords.

But if you don’t have a few months in hand then you should choose SEM which shows the result in 1 or 2 days.

If we talk about ROI then your ROI depends on the way you use both concepts of marketing if you properly apply all the rules of SEO and SEM then both marketing strategies can give you the best ROI as compared to any other business in today’s world.

So, in terms of ROI, both have a tie and in terms of speed of result SEM is great but what about other factors.

SEO vs SEM – In terms of Cost-Effective

If you talk about cost-effectiveness then the first thing which comes in your mind is that you have to pay for SEM but not have to pay for SEO, well this is true but the correct answer is you don’t have to pay for SEO directly.

Yes, directly because ranking a website on the top of search results is not free you have to put a lot of effort, time, and little money into proper optimization of a website.

Backlinks also play a very important role in ranking and sometimes you have to pay a good amount for a backlink. So, you can’t say that SEO is totally zero cost but in terms of cost-effectivity SEO is won the game.

When you have to focus on SEO and when on SEM

You have to understand that if you choose 100% SEO in your business then you fail and if you choose 100% SEM then also you fail.

So, if you are a startup or a small business with a tiny marketing budget, then you have to choose SEO, yes it takes time but this will make your brand and provide some free views for a long time.

First, you have to choose long-term information keywords and write on them to rank, because ranking on those keywords is easy and these keywords provide you some free traffic for a long time.

Second, after that, you have to target buying keywords in SEM, which means run your ads on buying keywords after completing the first point which provides you some more traffic for a business deal.

This is a way to get some free traffic to make brand value and some paid traffic to get sales.

Keep in mind that SEO is something that may take time but has the potential to give you free traffic for a long time, but SEM is something that gives you fast results but your views become zero on the day you stop paying for your keyword.

So, before burning your money in SEM try to gain some free traffic and their review on your site by proper use of SEO it may take 5 to 6 months but play a vital role in making your brand value in the market.

But if you are a business that has a proper marketing budget then you should go through SEM to get some fast results on your business.


If you reach this section then I think you read all information and understand all the important concepts of SEO vs SEM. Both these terms are marketing strategies that you can use to grow your business, and we advise learn both processes before applying or choosing any trusted agency for you to get a good result.

Now, if you think this article provides you complete information about SEO vs SEM then share this article, and if possible then leave your valuable comment below. 

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