The Difference Between SEO and SEM

Welcome to this new blog of the day! This blog will bring you a thorough idea of the most common digital marketing strategies such as SEO and SEM also known as Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. The concept to differentiate between the two platforms is very difficult.

We will elaborate on the kernels to make you aware of their distinctive nature and result orientation. The terms are very confusing on the first hand, and we should realize that they are different by function, then only we will be able to understand and accept them as different strategies.

We will learn about the generic difference between SEO and SEM. So, Search Engine Optimization is a method that increases the rate or count of website visitors, by bringing the site appeared on the top or at the beginning of the search result as returned by the search engine algorithm.

In simple words, SEO is a tool for better visibility of the target website in the internet search pages. Whereas, Search Engine Marketing is accounted as the internet marketing procedure which increases the site’s visibility by genuine search engine results and online advertising and it’s promotion.

SEM includes various online search oriented marketing tactics along with the best contribution from SEO.


Let us get straight to the elaboration of the individual strategies. And begin with SEO.

So, Search Engine Optimization is primarily an element of the broader category, SEM. As per the Google’s Knowledge Graph, SEO is a method to increasingly develop the number of the visitors to a particular website by confirming the appearance of the site on the higher to the highest level of availability on the list of results redirected by the search engine upon searched queries.

Now, we all are more or less aware of the fact that the Google algorithm is changing or updating every now and then. So even the Search Engine Optimization industry is also changing its work and activity to stay in pace with the Google modifications.

But, despite these changes, one method through two activities of SEO always remain intact and they are the On-Page and Off-Page SEO activities.


seo vs sem


The function of the On-Page SEO includes the following:

1. Title tags – To use selective keywords in the whole content write up. Repeating them for a couple of times.
2. Meta descriptions – A short one or two liner description including the keyword which sounds most relevant to the topic of discussion.
3. Heading tags – Incorporating keyword in the heading of the blog or content.
4. Alt text – A relevant very short explanation of the image used with keyword oriented words.
5. Quality writing and optimization for blog posts and page copy.
6. Cleaning and formatting Page URLs.
7. Optimizing the page loading speed.
8. Incorporation of Google authorship.
9. Integration of social media sharing within the contents.


The function of the Off-Page SEO includes the following:
1. Creating and use of natural, high-quality backlink profile.
2. Signals for social sharing.
3. Social media bookmarking.

The list for either On-Page or Off-Page SEO methods is not all that is mentioned, with regular Google updates and innovation of techniques very frequently more ways are included and incorporated.

Now, According to the most trusted source, we have learned that Search Engine Marketing is a very effective form of internet marketing that includes the promotion of websites by increasing the site’s visibility in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) via optimizing and advertising.

In this process of SEM, SEO tactics are highly utilized along with other search-based marketing strategies.

Search Engine Marketing includes various marketing techniques through search engine result pages as mentioned above. Primarily paid techniques are used such as, pay per click i.e. PPC listings and advertisements which are spread by campaigning with direct automated site processes as well as indirect manual processes.

PPC campaigns and activities are strictly considered as SEM method, but if SEO is used and paid search too, that falls under SEM efforts.

The very prime difference between the two terms of SEO and SEM is that Search Engine Optimization is a part of Search Engine Marketing. As explained above, SEM includes various components of paid search, such as PPC and SMM i.e. Social Platform Campaigning.

One should remember that SEO and SEM shouldn’t be interchangeably used, as though they work hand in hand, but they are not the same either by term or by activity.


seo vs sem


To simplify the difference, let us understand this example. If I am not wrong, we all go to school, and after an age, we learn maths. Sooner or later we are summed up with science as well.

In many of our science chapters we get basic to advance level of maths, then bring a conclusion to an explanation. Which means maths and science has interconnection if not in all parts but in some cases. But they are not same in any way.

Marketers often debate for whether one of them is better than the other. Let clarify that the fact is not about better or worse, it’s just the difference in the course of approach.

Thus, organic SEO is the prime result-oriented approach, but a genuine SEM cannot overrule without the use or organic SEO.
And in many situations, where PPC being a component of SEM makes more value than SEO.

For immediate visibility of a site, it is recommended to run a PPC campaign because it engages less time than SEO. On the contrary, it will be inappropriate to solely depend upon PPC without engaging the SEO activities.

For more information, organic SEO takes a long time to bring out a result, but in the end, it turns out to be less costly and you will be able to establish a search identity that you cannot make happen with PPC.

To choose your effective activity, it is necessary to evaluate your specific requirements and categorize the use of the different activity of SEO and SEM.