The Important Differences Between SEO and SEM: What You Should know

Posted on: January 11, 2020, by :

The Important Differences Between SEO and SEM: What You Should know

January 10, 2020 Comments


Search engines drive in 10x more traffic to shopping sites than social media marketing does. 

But what’s the difference between SEO and SEM when it comes to driving more traffic to your site? Is SEO or SEM better? Does SEO or SEM marketing campaigns perform better? 

These are questions you might wonder as a business. These are the questions you need to be answered before you invest in a marketing agency. 

Here’s everything you need to know about SEO and SEM and why they are so different. The answer can help you drive in more traffic to your site and help you figure out what’s the better option when it comes to creating a marketing strategy. 

In a blurb, you could say that SEM, Search Engine Marketing, is used to refer to paid search. In other words, SEM is getting paid ads on search engines. 

SEO, which is search engine optimization, refers to getting traffic from free sources such as natural search results. The better the SEO, the more likely your ideal customer finds your website on the top of their web search.

There’s a lot more to it in terms of how they differ and how they benefit businesses. This is why it’s important to look at the pros and cons of SEO and SEM and figure out how they can help your business.

It’s also important to see how much work is involved with SEO and SEM and why one might be a better fit than the other for your business.

Having a good SEO website is about keeping up with Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

The benefit or pro of SEO is that it helps your ideal customers find your website organically, which is free of cost. Excellent SEO helps your site rank higher on search engines, allowing more people to find your site naturally. 

SEO is basically a strategy that employs digital techniques to increase quality and quantity to your website with organic search results. It requires using keywords that you think your ideal customer uses. For instance, if you sell silver forks and your ideal customer wants silver forks, you would probably use keywords around silver fork. 

You might use keywords like, where to find a silver fork. Or you might use keywords around, the best silver forks for kitchenware. 

The point is, SEO helps you find specific keywords that drive more traffic to your website. This is why blogs are growing with popularity. Businesses use blogs to incorporate keywords. 

These keywords used over and over again drive in more traffic with a blog and help answer questions that your ideal audience may be asking. 

Of course, there are also some cons that come with SEO. One of the cons is that SEO can take a lot of work. You have to write a lot of content to rank your website higher and higher. 

Another con can be, depending on your business, the competition from keywords. You might have competitors using the same keywords as you, which can make it harder for your business to rank. 

Another con is the number of backlinks required for your website. You need backlinks from other sites, such as creating sister sites that can help your website rank higher. That’s why it’s important to have the best backlink checker

Overall, SEO is a great marketing strategy for your online business. It can help you figure out how to rank without spending a lot on marketing.  

For more information on SEO, visit our website for a list of search engines.

One of the pros of SEM is that you can position yourself as the top of search results with paid advertising. It’s the first thing your ideal customers see and it can generate a lot of clicks. 

Another benefit of SEM is that you control the advertisement. You control the headline and the body copy. You can also test variations of the ad and see which one is performing the best and optimize that advertisement. 

Paid searches can also provide visible images of your product to your ideal customers. They are seeing what they are getting instead of simply reading about it. 

Although you may be spending on an advertisement, you can also control how much you spend. You can spend more depending on the number of clicks or how many impressions you are getting from your advertisement. You don’t have to spend a ton. 

Some of the cons of SEM are that can be expensive if you are always testing without achieving positive results. This can be from the copy or the targeted audience, which can require changes. 

Even if you aren’t always testing and you do achieve positive results from the advertisement, you will need to consistently budget for your paid advertisement to keep it running. 

Another con can be since your paid advertisement is visible, your competitors will see and may mimic it. They may try to apply similar paid advertisements, which can lower traffic to your site. 


Overall, SEM can be perfect for your business if you think you can drive in more traffic and sales from paid searches. 

Choosing between SEO and SEM is really dependent on what kind of business you have. It depends on what your marketing strategies are and what your overall goals are in your business. 

SEO and SEM have unique benefits that can help you drive in more traffic. But ultimately, SEO may be the better choice, at least as a starting point. It may require more work with SEO, but it gives you more financial flexibility than SEM, which is more expansive and encompassing. 

For more information on SEO and SEM and what you might need for your business, check out our search engine guide

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