What Is the Main Difference Between SEO and SEM?

Posted by Mario Diaz

Did you know that there are over 1.7 billion websites on the internet? All of these sites are vying for the coveted top spot in the search engine results pages. Your digital marketing strategy will help to take your website there. You may have heard of SEO and SEM; both are designed to help you drive traffic to your website. But do you know what the difference between the two is? In this article, we’ll take a look at the main difference between SEO and SEM.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO relates to anything that you do to improve your organic search results.

There are several facets of SEO. The main types of SEO are:

  • On-page SEO- This helps your content rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs)
  • Off-page SEO– This refers to getting links to your site placed on other, high authority pages
  • Technical SEO- This improves the performance of your site to aid ranking
  • Local SEO- This helps your business appear on maps and on Google’s Local Pack

Common SEO tactics include keyword optimization, link building, mobile optimization, and improving page load speeds.

What is SEM?

SEM stands for search engine marketing. SEM utilizes paid advertising to help you position your website higher in the search rankings.

SEM involves setting up ads and optimizing them. This strategy may also be referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.

Google Ads is one of the most popular places to start when implementing this strategy.

SEM centers around keyword optimization, so in many respects, it shares similarities with SEO.

What Are the Benefits of SEO?

The main benefit of SEO is that you’ll rank high on the search results pages. It generates organic traffic based on people’s search terms.

This means that the traffic is effectively free, although you may need to pay to have your site optimized, you won’t pay by the click like you will do with SEM.

What Are the Benefits of SEM?

Much like with SEO, the main benefit of SEM is that your website will rank at the top of the search results. This time, it is listed as an ad.

The benefit of SEM is that it is a great way of guaranteeing traffic to your website. An SEM strategy should be employed alongside an SEO strategy.

The Difference Between SEO and SEM

The main difference between SEO and SEM is that SEO is free and organic, whereas SEM is paid for. Both SEO and SEM are powerful tools that are essential in any digital marketing toolkit, and both are very beneficial.

Both SEO and SEM serve the same purpose; that is to get your website to appear as high as possible in the search results.

If you’d like help with your marketing and SEO needs, get in touch with Enfuse today.