What Is The Difference Between SEO And SEM?

A detailed comparison between SEO and SEM. Learn their similarities and differences and which is best for your marketing.

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  1. Mandeep Hooda says

    That’s great Alex. For business beginners SEM is best when they are going to starting. if they wants long time business they must need to do SEO part for their website.

  2. William John says

    hi Alex,

    This post contains great information for SEM . I feel the contents of your post will help me a lot as i am beginner in SEM.

  3. Atif Mirza says

    100% useful and accurate way to convey and clear difference. I would love to say SEO is best at all. Its shows how much your are strong in strategies that search engine bring website data in SERPs from search engine database.

  4. Cepi Thea says

    The great information about marketing. This is useful and i feel article above can help me as beginner on network marketing. Thanks a lot

  5. Abdul Khadar says

    Hi Alex,

    Which is better SEO or SEM because i am bit confuse here, i had gone through many blogs some people are referring SEO and some are SEM so kindly write more about my question.

    • Makinde Oluwatimilehin says

      It depends on what you want to achieve, SEO is more long term while SEM covers both SEO and some other areas such as PPC which is immediate because its paid.

      So basically, SEO is an aspect of SEM but how useful both are to you depends on what your goals are IMO.

  6. Frederik Larsen says

    Hey Alex.

    Since the change of the way Ads is placed. How much traffic goes towards the adwords compared to the organic results?
    I think i remember a thumb-rule that was 10/90 for the old resultpage (10% goes towards adwords) How is it now?

  7. Mark Abrim says

    This is very helpful to me. I’m just new in SEO and I’m trying to identify what are the difference between SEO and marketing

  8. Mark Alan says

    With the huge difference in click-thru rates between organic searches and paid ads, SEO can definitely return a higher ROI. Of course, PPC will drive immediate clicks while SEO may take up to 6 months or more to really take effect (drive significant traffic gains). Good article, spot on.

  9. Alex says

    Hi Alex.

    I understood the difference between SEO & SEM. I am with a company which is into website designing, hosting and Digital Marketing.
    I am very new to this kind of Business. Can you please advice me how to start with to find prospective customers.


  10. Abhi says

    Through this article, I understand the difference between seo and sem. I checked many websites but here i found points which are relevant. SEO and SEM both are parts of digital marketing.

    • Alex Chris says

      Hi Abhi

      That’s correct. SEO is one of the main part of SEM, which is part of digital marketing.


  11. Garry Lei says

    I had trouble understanding the difference between SEM & SEO. I always thought they were similar or the exact same thing.

  12. Josh says

    Very well explained!I have learned many great things from your articles. I have been checking out all of your blogs as well , thanks for sharing this.

  13. Ron says

    Hey Alex, from what I understand SEM include SM, Emails marketing and PPC in contrast to SEO that is organic search engine rankings?

    • Alex says

      Hi Ron

      Search Engine Marketing encapsulates both PPC and SEO. In other words SEO is part of SEM. Internet Marketing is SEM + Social + Mobile.

      Hope this helps

  14. Grace says

    Thank you for this useful information. A great detailed, clear and concise article about the difference between SEO & SEM. Even better explanation with the Google Image showing clearly who has paid for advertising and who has good rankings. Thanks.

  15. Shoaib Raza says

    Keep posting these kind of articles it inspires to every internet newbie like me.
    Continue your good work.

  16. Bernardo says

    A Great article on understanding SEO & SEM. Helpful info for a mid career entrepreneur that realizes that the digital economy is one that cannot be ignored.

  17. JackIreland says

    That’s a great article, my clients are always confused between SEO and SEM, I will actually send them this link because I get really tired of explaining the difference every single day PLUS I won’t be able to explain it any better than you did. Thanks for this great information.

  18. Kiara Matthews says

    Thanks for this wonderful post I really got many valuable information through it. As a learner it’s not so easy task to understand ROI quickly but this post tell a lot.

  19. DublinKev says

    Great article, means a lot. I think SEO is for the people that can be patient and wait but SEM is for businesses that want profits as soon as possible. In the long run, SEO is definitely better than SEM because it’s natural and free once you establish your rankings. Thanks again.

    • Alex Chris says


      I agree with you 100%. SEM is almost instant while SEO takes time to work but in the long term, SEO is a better approach.


  20. Cameron Minton says

    Great article, i have had to explain this to quite a few people, i always like to add that a strong SEO specialist knows how to combine the techniques of both SEO and SEM to give the client the best value, and in turn, ROI

  21. Pooja says

    Great article, especially, for the beginners and clients who might be confused as to what these (SEO & SEM) terms mean. Through this simple post, it has now become clear that SEO helps improve the organic search engine rankings, while SEM helps increase leads and sales through PPC Advertising. Thanks Alex for such a useful information!

  22. Jayaraj Chanku says

    Hey Alex,
    Thank you for this impressive post. From this I got a clear idea regarding the differences between SEM and SEO. Previously I thought they are like siblings but actually they were like cousins!
    Thank you for your amazing article.

  23. William says

    Really appreciative and informative efforts that you have made to write and share this article with us.Thanks for sharing us. It is very useful and informative article for me because i had no idea about SEM and difference of SEO and SEM before reading this article.

  24. Rohan P says

    In Simple language i would say, You spend money, Found in top results but your website is not optimised or have usefull content then user will not stay, so rather spending money on PPC you should focus on SEO and Optimise your website with Good Content and user friendly experience for Users. Organic Rankings stay for long duration.

  25. Jo Ann says

    PPC can be great as a starter move but it only lasts as long as you are paying, whereas an Organic Optimized website on page 1 keeps you in the view of clients for a much longer time and you own it.

  26. Prashant Rai says

    Hi Alex Chris,

    Thanks for sharing amazing article about SEO and SEM. Your article is very clear and readable for us and all beginners.

  27. Jonathan Bowers says

    Thanks for the helpful information discussing the differences and similarities between SEO and SEM. The information was enlightening because a search engine optimization company like the one that I own is relatively new at starting. We believe everyone should always check out their sources because every different perspective is very different so all approaches can be understood differently.


  28. Yilmaz Sarac says

    The balance between SEO and SEM must be one of the most difficult things to do for a search engine with revenue source is “only” advertising.

    • Phong says

      SEM is the paid marketing in exchange for website traffics, these are GDN, Facebook Ads, Social influencers, email marketing, affiliate, referral program. SEM will bring the traffic to the website instantly, the more a business spends on advertising through these channels, the more traffics they get. The visibility of a website is, therefore, gaining organic search from customers who saw the ads, clicked on the ads, visited the website, remember the brand, then searching whenever they need.

      Therefore, the foundation of a website is the key element of SEO. It provides relevant information on a business that all search engines like google, bing, yahoo understand when crawling the website, then showing this relevant information to any customers who search for it. The better SEO preparation for a website, the better results a business will benefit from its organic search. Without SEO foundation, the spending on SEM is a waste of resources & gaining nothing from organic search

      Both SEM & SEO are interacting with each other to maintain & improves website traffic. Paid marketing is now getting more expensive than before, when the cost of per click goes up, the number of clicks will be reduced. Therefore organic search will help a website to offset the traffic in the long run & minimize the marketing budget.

  29. Yukti Arora says

    Amazing explanation about SEO and SEM and i learn something new things and strategies about SEO and I have read many blogs related to seo and sem but here i found something different so thank you very much for sharing such an informative post and keep posting on different topics because i am waiting for your next post.

  30. Chaitanya Gandhi says

    This difference between SEO and SEM is very clear. This article is very helpful for people who search for SEO and SEM. Thanks you very much. Your blog is well detailed about Seo as well as Sem.

  31. Rob Dean says

    Thanks, Alex for your great post. This guide covers almost all things of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. I think this is one of the best articles on SEO. Keep writing such posts further.

  32. Abdulwaheed says

    Great article, means a lot. I think SEO is for the people that can be patient and wait but SEM is for businesses that want profits as soon as possible. In the long run, SEO is definitely better than SEM because it’s natural and free once you establish your rankings. Thanks you

    • Alex Chris says

      Hi Abdulwaheed

      I agree with your comment 100%. SEM can generate results faster than SEO but to build a bullet-proof business, you definitely need to get SEO working.

      All the best

  33. Stephen Paul says

    Thanks for sharing this article. The main difference between SEO and SEM is that SEO is an unpaid strategy while SEM is a paid strategy. SEO and SEM are basic strategies that will help you improve your visibility and performance in search.

    Here is the basic definition:

    SEO is a key part of your digital marketing strategy which assists in optimizing your website for the purpose of getting free traffic from search engines.

    SEM is a digital marketing process with the goal of increasing visibility in search engines like the Pay Per Click (PPC) ads and paid ads on Google-specific platforms (Google My Business, Google Shopping, etc.)

  34. sara says

    Thanks for sharing amazing article about SEO and SEM. Your article is very clear and readable for us and all beginners.

  35. Moshiour Rahman says

    I think SEO is for the individuals that can be patient and stand by however SEM is for organizations that need benefits at the earliest opportunity. Over the long haul, SEO is unquestionably better than SEM on the grounds that free once you build up your rankings.

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