Home SEO SEO Vs SEM — Which Is Which?

SEO Vs SEM — Which Is Which?

SEO Vs SEM — Which Is Which?
SEO Vs SEM — Which Is Which?
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Understanding SEO & SEM is your first step in doing them. To survive in this recent digital world, a marketer or business owner must learn how to maximize them both.

That is why, in this resource, you will be learning the core lessons one must know about SEO Vs SEM. In order to ensure that you completely understand what and how to use them in your digital marketing, we have grouped this lesson into three;

  • Quick Introduction To SEO & SEM
  • SEO Vs SEM — Their Differences
  • SEO Vs SEM — Which Is Better? (Comparison)

SEO Vs SEM Paid Per Click Advertising

Quick Introduction To SEO & SEM

It is important to ensure that you know what “SEO” stands for. It is the abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization, which is generally a part of Search Marketing. Whereas, SEM, which stands for Search Engine Marketing is a search practice that include PPC which means Paid–Per–Click Search Program.

The end point of these two search practices or programs is to enhance a business, blog or website appearance on search engines.

SEO Vs SEM — Their Differences

SEO involves optimization practices that enhance a site traffic or organic search traffic or/and rankings.


For you to achieve this, you must ensure that you have SEO friendly contents and website structure.

Moving further, SEO practices are divided into three (3) kinds;

Technical SEO–which involves optimization practices that enables search engine crawlers to easily crawl and index your blog, website and its contents. Such technical practices include; canonical URLs, XML sitemaps, site structure, pagespeed, Website security and mobile-friendliness etc.

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On-page SEO–which involves those practices you do on your site to optimize your blog or site, and they include; URL optimization, page title optimization, content optimization, image (ALT Txt) optimization, meta description optimization and H1 Tag optimization.

Off-page SEO–which broadly involves those optimization practices we do outside your blog or website to improve your rankings, and they include; Guest posting, website or content promotions, accumulation of backlinks (otherwise called link building) etc.

Whereas, SEM moves beyond Search engine optimization, as It includes additional strategies like Paid–Per–Click (PPC) programs.

However, in a nutshell, Search Engine Marketing includes both PPC program (paid traffic) and SEO (organic traffic).

SEO Vs SEM — Which Is Better? (Comparison)

In the world of Search Engine Marketing, SEO & SEM are both important as they end result is to drive huge traffic to a website or blog.

However, they operate or fetch you traffic with and in different ways, which gives room for functional comparison.

To compare them, we will be looking at the time they take, their costs and risk associated with them both.


They both function with different time frame, you could use any depending on what your company, brand or business goals and targets are. SEM—PPC takes almost little or no time, as it is a paid traffic program. You see results or get traffic instantly. This option is usually used by brands that need quick or short term huge traffic. Whereas, SEM—SEO takes a lot of time to achieve as it involves lots of factors (which we’ve listed earlier) to consistently rank on the first page of search engines like google, bing, yandex, yahoo etc.

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Cost (SEO Vs SEM):

SEO (organic traffic) gives you the opportunity to experience or enjoy massive site traffic from search with no budget or plan for using paid search advertising or programs, while Paid–Per–Click advertising involves lots of spending, as it is all about getting paid traffic. This means that once you stop paying, you stop getting traffic. In terms of cost, SEO is best as it provides huge long-term website traffic with no additional paid advertising.

However, to achieve SEO (organic traffic), you must give in your resources (time, money, unique contents) over sometime (which could be in months or in years) to build a website that search engines could hold at high esteem.

Risk (SEO Vs SEM):

You should note that using SEM to market or sustain your business involves a few risks.

For instance, depending on SEO could strike you or uplift your brand at some point in time, as search engines try to update, upgrade or change their search algorithm system, and when that does happen, you would either experience a downgrade or upgrade in your search rank.

For Paid–Per–Click Advertising, at some point in a time, the actual cost–per–click for your brand to get a traffic or make sales might increase beyond reasonable cost, and frequent or force use of this program might either end up liquidating your brand or adversely affect your sales or market profits.


To wrap this up, it is strongly advisable for companies, websites or brands to make use of both SEO & PPC in pursuit for generating sales or/and traffic, as the use of both ensures superb marketing experience.

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SEO Vs SEM — Which Is Which?
SEO Vs SEM — Which Is Which?

In addition, you should also know that SEM—PPC does not in anyway contribute to your site SEO profile. This is to say that it neither improves nor adversely affect it. They are just two separate programs belonging to the same digital marketing family.


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