Difference between SEO and SEM


seoAlthough not many people know this, there is a difference between SEO and SEM. Contrary to belief, they are not two words portraying the same message. Search Engine Optimization can be classified under the larger category referred to as Search Engine Marketing. SEO requires content providers to deal with titles, meta tags, html coding as well as keyword density. SEM on the other hand involves the use of paid subscriptions, article directories and submitting content in search engines. Search engine optimization is the actual activity of making money online by trying to rank high on search engines such as Yahoo and Google while search engine marketing is the business of making money online. Implementing the techniques of marketing by optimizing keywords is search engine marketing.

Search engine marketing involves all activities that can be used to promote a website, a business or earn a website owner income. SEM involves activities such as paid inclusions, which involves paying search engines to make it easier for a website to be found by internet users. For some search engines, this is the only way that websites can get listed. Most website owners prefer paying because it means their sites will be listed sooner than others and internet users will be able to keep track of changes being made on the site. Another aspect of SEM is placing advertisements on the website to market a product or website. Pay per click is another SEM technique used by search engines and website owners to generate traffic for websites. In this case, payment is made per every click of the advertisement.

Both SEO and SEM techniques are drawn towards generating traffic to a website, promoting a product and bringing up profits. One of the biggest differences in these two techniques is the SEM is almost guaranteed and takes place immediately but SEO requires more work, monitoring and patience to yield results. SEM is more expensive because it is a fast and reliable way of promoting a website. SEM mainly gets people to click on a website link. After that website users have a little time to convince users that they can find what they are looking for on that website. This is where SEO comes in. SEO techniques have to be applied to make sure that users get what they are looking for and will come back to that site to look for further information in the future.

The purpose of SEO is to make a website more usable by search engines and internet users. SEO is directly related to SEM because without it, the marketing techniques will not be implemented to achieve the final desired goal. In addition, without SEM, a website would probably never be viewed and that would make all SEO attempts futile. Search engine optimization can be termed as a cheaper and long term answer to increase traffic generation and promote a website. SEM includes the efforts put in to ensure that the website is actually visible to internet users. SEO is a free technique that consumes much more time than SEM and does not offer any guarantees to promote a website.



  1. This is very good information about SEO and SEM, SEO is not limited only meta tag and Html coding, One SEO person can give perfect design guideline or you can say in other word web design architecture.

  2. SEO is cheaper but effective as well and can contribute direct traffic than SEM if done well. And with the new Google Caffeine updates, SEO with social media is equal if not effective than SEM, We can almost guarantee that a website will be visible before unlike before. And SEO is a lot cheaper and goes beyond SEM in bringing traffic and conversions.

Leave A Reply