SEO vs SEM – Important Facts You Need to Know

With recent advancements in the world of marketing, you have probably heard of various jargons that people use including SEO and SEM. In fact, you may be wondering what these terms mean and how they can be used in marketing your business online. So, if you are confused about these acronyms, and you want to learn about the benefits these offer, then you should read along to have a better understanding of SEO and SEM for effective online marketing.


Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a technique that enhances a website’s online visibility through natural or organic search results. Although the practice of SEO contiues to evolve with the hopes of complying with Google’s algorithm, there remains the two basics of SEO, which are on-page and off-page SEO.

Primarily, on-page SEO includes various aspects such as an optimized web page load rate, integration of social sharing buttons in your web content, well-formatted URLs, optimized meta data with selective keywords, and top quality web page content. On the other hand, off-page SEO covers link building, social bookmarking, and social sharing signals. There are more components included, but these are among the essential ones that every website should contain to ensure a good ranking in search engine results pages or SERPs.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to a marketing strategy that features the promotion of certain websites, which helps increase internet visibility in SERPs with the application of advertising and optimization techniques. Unlike SEO, SEM involves the application of paid search results, which is the concept behind pay-per-click ads and business listings. There are several marketers who consider refering to their pay-per-click activities as SEM since the term offers the same idea. When you incorporate paid search and organic SEO, however, these techniques are classified as SEM campaigns.

SEM Traffic and Benefits

Traffic obtained through SEM is targeted, which makes it an important source of web traffic. In fact, it is a fact that online searching is primarily done to look for a quick solution to any concerns or problems. With this in mind, once people click on your website upon seeing it in search results, there is a high possibility that they can be converted and turned into sales. The same holds true when these people click on your ad since the bigger reason for them to do so is their interest on what you are currently offering.

Thus, displayed websites and advertisements make web traffic from SEM rather valuable and important. This is one of the reasons why at present, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook aim to optimize their current platforms for advertising. As they do so, they can make use of their targeted traffic. However, web traffic received from organic searches or search engines still offer higher returns on the investment.


After finding out the basics on SEO and SEM, now it is time to determine which of these two is better and more beneficial to your needs. The truth is, it all depends on the type of online marketer that you are. For instance, inbound marketers will find it more ideal to use organic SEO since it does not rely on paid search results. However, the fact that authentic SEM also implements organic SEO as one of its key components makes it essential in online marketing, as well.

It is also worth noting that PPC can be rather effective, specifically among marketers who are launching their startups online. Since they are still completely unknown to everyone, there is an urgent need to gain visibility in the search result page. Once they have obtained credibility and exposure online, they can switch to organic SEO. However, it may be a better option to combine both techniques for maximum returns in the long run.

As for organic SEO, this will cost you much less once you have gained that credibility from online searchers. This is obtained as you become regular in creating and posting quality content while utilizing the power of social media. With all these things in mind, you should think about your particular concerns for your business while having a deeper understanding of SEO and SEM to attain long-term benefits and maximize profits over time.

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