Internet is one of the most crowded place in terms of people spending time. And approx. every user uses the search engine daily. Both marketers and consumers are looking towards the search engines with much of hope. Consumers wants organic and unbiased results from Search engines like Google and Bing, and at the same time marketers wants some piece of traffic redirected into their website.

Search Engine companies like Google and Microsoft (Bing) find the solution to fulfill both the demands. And this becomes after evolving SEO and SEM.

Yes, because search engine handles a lot of web traffic and redirected it to other websites. Marketers found the opportunity to advertise and market their brand here and search engine companies got a lot bucks by this way. This is called Search Engine Marketing.

But what about their consumers, they want organic and unbiased results. If brand will influence the search results by paying the dollars then who will trust on the search engine results.

So, search engines start mentioning the paid advertisement and organic results separately. It helps consumers to choose between the results.

Before start discussion you should have a clear understanding of SEO and SMM.

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a process or method to optimize the whole website or part of website/blog to fulfill the search engines guidelines and become visible on search engine result page.

 “How to do this or how we can do this?”

There are more than 1000 answers for these type of question, and we could discuss on this lengthy topic some other day.

What is SEM (Search Engine Marketing)?

“SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a kind of marketing on Search engines to get some targeted traffic to your website for lead, sales or for any purpose.”

It is paid or sponsored listing on search engine result pages, so this also can be control like other kind of marketing campaign and budget.

Very often people refer or call PPC (Pay-per-click) this search engine marketing, which is correct in its place, but PPC is not only search engine marketing (SEM). Sometimes people also run ad campaigns on social media like Facebook on PPC (Pay-per-click) pattern.

So, now we know that SEO and SEM, both related to get visibility in search engine results page. Then how these 2 terms are different from each other.

“Is the load of bucks on your pocket is the only difference between these two?”


There are something more in the bag?

Let’s reveal it…



SEO vs SEM (Difference in SEO and SEM)


Actually, we can compare these two in both terms.In terms of similarities and differences.

Similarities in SEM and SEO

  • Help brand to visible on Search Result:

SEM and SEO both are aim to get visible on first page of search result page with higher ranking. The more higher ranking brand got, the more credibility it consists in the view of consumers and viewers.

  • Redirect more and more traffic to website

Both use to implement with the aim for more traffic to the website. SEM and SEO helps the brand to get the prominent position in the search result pages.

  • Need to know the audience

Both SEO and SEM can’t be perform in an effective manner if you don’t know your audience. To implement these you have to know the search engine algorithms and personna of your audience, consumers or customers.

By using individual personas, and psychographic, segmentation, and demographic segmentation we can trigger the exact, which can make our campaign successful.

  • Keyword research is necessary in both SEO and SEM

You’re going to do SEO or SEM, in both the process keyword research is the key.

Or in other words we can say that we have to optimize the website for both these process.

SEM will also not work perfectly if we can’t dig the right keyword for it. So, digging the keyword is necessary for both and we can consider it as similarities also.

  • No one can put you always on the top of SERP (SEO or SEM)

In both there is one similarity that you have to learn and optimize continuously to rank in SERP.

You spend money but SEM will not work as per your expectation if you don’t keep your website and page optimized continuously.

SEO vs SEM ( What is the differences in SEO and SEM)

  • Search Engine add a visible “Ad” tag in result of SEM but not in SEO results

The biggest difference in these two is to attach a visible “Ad” tag in the search result. Any search engines would not like to influence their visitors to choose any particular website, if that result is not consist that place according to algorithm.

Search engine wants tell their users, that they are getting paid to show these results. So, with this visible “Ad” tag you can choose, you want to go with real result or marketed link.

  • SEM is paid and SEO is Free (If you’re doing alone)

This is unnecessary to mention here, but this is the main difference between these two. SEM aka for search engine marketing is a paid activity, but in SEO you need to put your effort. You can invest some money for SEO too, but it totally depend upon you. But for marketing or SEM you have to pay the search engines for each and every click.

  • SEM result shows to target audience but SEO don’t

Because SEM is marketing, so you have to define your audience before start the campaign. But you optimize your website for search engines in SEO. You just target some keyword and use a bit of your audience personas to optimize the website or any particular page. Search Engine can show your website’s page for any keyword or part of keyword to anyone, who will search for it. But in SEM, search engines will only show it to targeted traffic.

For example if your website is good SEO optimized to become on the first page then it will show for the page link in result all over the world (for a very little part of search term result got differ cause of demographics).

But at the same time if you set up the campaign only for Brazil, then for your targeted keyword result will only show to Brazil audience. For the same keyword audience from other countries, people will not able to view your link. On the same

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) shows immediate results but SEO don’t

As per the discussion you know that SEM is a kind of marketing service provided by the search engines to the marketers. So, if you’ll use this service you’ll need to pay the search engine companies and there you go. Your campaign will start immediately after getting approved by them. But at the same time SEO does not need any approval, once it got indexed by the engines then it will start showing in the SERP. It would take some time to get rank high and redirect some traffic to your website from the search engines.

  • SEO adds value over time but SEM does not

SEO is the process, which we already told you many times in this article. So, it’s result could become late but will, for sure. And SEM is just a marketing techniques, pay and play concept there is. SEM will only redirect the traffic until you’re paying to company. After stop paying, the normal concept and algorithm of SEO will implement on that.

If you’ll put your efforts on website for SEO then it will shows you the long term result, but SMM is not anywhere related or beneficial for long term results.

  • SEO have the greater click through rate in comparison of SEM

It is true that, if you’ve bid good rate for a specific keyword and search engines showing it to the top, then too most of the traffic will prefer to click on the organic SEO results.

As we have discussed that SEM and SEO results can be differ in the search result clearly. Many reports by many institutions and agencies shows it, that top ranked organic results got more click vs impression in comparison of paid or sponsored results.

Even though, paid or sponsored results in the SERP consist more and helpful information. Like if you’re looking for a kind of stores near you, then SEM results shows you the extensions and many more useful information in that result looking sponsored link.  

SEM vs SEO (Which could be a great fit for you?)

Now, you’re well aware with all the terms related to SEO and SEM and most of the similarities and differences. Many one try to pick any one of it, which will be more beneficial and better for them.

But, the question is “Should you go for any one or both?”

These 2 are way different, and if you can, you should do both. All the brands use SEM and SEO both to build and protect their brand image.

First of all, let start the discussion with SEO


SEO (It is necessary, not a prop. of marketing)

SEO is not a marketing technique or prop. which you can use for marketing. If you’ve to be online, then you need to be good in SEO.

By doing good SEO and optimize your website according to search engines guidelines, you make your website more visible on search engine result pages(SERP). And this is the only way to get a large no. of visitors (Ofcourse, if you’re CNN, you don’t need to worry about SEO).

SEM (It is marketing, do when you’re in need)

SEM is totally depends upon the necessity.

“On how much bigger scale, you want to go?”

“Which demographic audience you want to go?”

SEM throw you instantly in front of your desired audience. SO, for eg. if you want to introduce any killer offer, which you know will be a surprise for your potential customers. SEO could took a bit longer time then you’re expecting, so you’ll need to go with SEM and spread this news according to your budget.


As we can see here that, no one could be select as only best fit for anyone. SEO is necessary for long run online, but SEM is the best option for search engine marketing.

Now you’ve all the facts and concepts about all these two. So, its your turn to tell us your opinion on these two.