Difference Between SEO and SEM (In-depth Comparison)

Know the real Difference between SEO and SEM (SEO vs. SEM). Nobody can expand their business or product without marketing. In the old days, people used billboards, pamphlets, radio, television, and many other channels to promote. So, it might have been costly for them at that time, and it was not easily accessible to everyone.

Time changed the internet, and search engines like Yahoo, Google, and Bing. People started purchasing things online. And many big e-commerce websites started selling their products online.

So far, marketing has been a revolution for people. When businessmen started promoting their products or services online. It was easy for everyone and not too costly in the meantime, SEO, SEM, SMO, and many other methods to start people.

Difference between SEO and SEM
Difference between SEO and SEM

What is search engine optimization (SEO)?

Search Engine Optimization, acronym SEO. This is a method of marketing by which we promote a website in search engines without paying someone. But the methods of promotion must be genuine and legal. After doing this, you will increase the organic traffic of your website domain name.

There are three methods of SEO:

White Hat SEO – When we promote a website using the criteria suggested by search engines. This is known as “white hat SEO.” This type of SEO is long-lasting and has no major effect on a website when a search engine website takes place.

Black Hat SEO – It is an unethical technique for promoting websites. Although a website may rank in a short time, once search engines know about it, they immediately flag it as spam. Therefore, this technique could be beneficial for the short term only.

Grey Hat SEO: When white hat and black hat SEO are used simultaneously to optimize a webpage. It is recognized as “Grey Hat SEO.” It may be affected after the search engine releases any update.

Mainly, we considered White Hat SEO as the genuine process to get organic traffic.

There are three main tactics for optimizing any website.

  1. On-page SEO
  2. Off-page SEO
  3. Technical SEO
3 Tactics to optimize website for SEO
3 Tactics to optimize website for SEO

On-Page SEO

When we perform the on-site activity, that’s called “on-page SEO.” It includes writing a title for the page, and a Meta description. Using the right keyword on the webpage, webpage content, and many others.

Some people thought that on-page SEO was one-time work, but that is not true. You must find another way to update the webpage at a definite time. That sends a signal to the search engine that the users of that page have awareness. The webpage does not act like a dead pages.

Doing this will be profitable for you, and you can expect more growth on that page.

Off-Page SEO

You must have heard about backlink terms. Off-page activity plays a major role in improving website ranking through link building. Although it is a long conversation about website ranking factors. One thing to notice here is that off-page is very important for all websites.

Websites do not rank overnight; it takes more time than we expect. If someone says that they will rank your website in minimum time, or they are lying. Or they will use unethical methods to optimize your website.

Based on a survey, Ahref (a famous SEO tool and blog) revealed that more than 60% of websites having top positions in Google are more than two years old. You can gauge what amount of time it will require before they begin making backlinks.

So, backlinks have different values in terms of ranking. There are so many activities that fall into this category. Like listing, article submissionGuest bloggingforum submission, and so many more.

Technical SEO

When you read “technical SEO,” it sounds like something unique will be here. Yes, it is different from the last two tactics. When we perform activities on a website without interrupting the content. It is known as “technical SEO.”

Technical SEO acts like a bridge between a search engine and a website. Because there are so many things that we can control through it. If you do not want to crawl a particular URL of a website, then you can do so via the robots.txt file.

Similarly, if the URL of a website has been accidentally indexed by a search engine. You can use the webmaster tool (now renamed “Google Search Console“) to prevent the search engine from indexing that URL again. And also, to remove it from the search engine.

So, there are many things that you can control through it. You must know the uses for them. Otherwise, it is not worth it for you. robots.txt, sitemap, crawl ability, indexing rate, and website page speed. The mobile index first checks the webpage responsive check. And so many other terms are covered by it.

Now It Is A Normal Question To Pop Up In Your Mind: How Does SEO Work?

It is an easy process to understand. Every search engine has a crawler, known as a bot, a spider, or any of the many other names. When you run a website, crawlers visit your website. And if your website permits it to be indexed. Then that crawler will index your website on Google and send a copy of it to a database to store it.

Know What is keyword difficulty before you start doing SEO for your website. And choose the best SEO Keywords to optimize your website. Because a visitor searches for keyword phrases in the form of their query to get a result. Professionals optimize your website for those particular keywords to attract visitors to their website. That’s how your website starts getting organic online traffic. Later, if you are selling something or providing services. It is most likely that your business will grow.

For example, if you are providing an AC repair service online, you have a website. And you are promoting it with the keyword phrase “AC repair service near me”. Assuming somebody looks for that inquiry in a web search tool. They will see your site on the web index result page and land on your site. The most common method of enhancing a site’s positioning is known as SEO.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

As the name implies, “Search Engine Marketing” (SEM) refers to some kind of promotion on a search engine. (Such as Google, Bing, or others). You will be surprised to know that SEO is part of SEM. It means search engine optimization is a method of marketing. Which is covered by search engine marketing.

When organic and paid, both kinds of promotion come together, and it is known as SEM. Well, let’s understand it another way.

Search Engine Optimization and paid marketing tactics (known as PPC) both deliver combined results. That’s a method known as “search engine marketing.

We have written about search engine optimization in the upper section of the blog. Kindly read it from there. Let’s read about pay-per-click (PPC) here.

Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing

What is PPC?

Even though PPC (Pay Per Click) itself is broad, as far as it is concerned. It is an important pillar of search engine marketing. Pay per Click implies that you need to pay for each click on your site. Search engines like Google and Bing provide online tools. Known as Google Ads (formerly known as Google Ad Words) and Bing Ads. Customers can create a campaign for their website to get more business and take it to the next level.

It gives results instantly, like setting up your account. And after a couple of hours, you can see traffic on your website. Although it is known as “paid traffic” because you have to pay money to the search engine in exchange for traffic.

There are some general terms used. During the PPC campaign, you should know these.

First of all, you should know what type of ad campaign you can run on Google or Bing. (because these are both major platforms for running paid campaigns).

There are two types of campaigns: the first one is a smart campaign, and the second is an expert one.

There are primarily six types of Google Ads that can run.

  • Search
  • Display
  • Video
  • App
  • Shopping
  • Discovery

Type of Bing Ads

  • Advertisements for App Installation
  • Ads with Expanded Text
  • Dynamic search ads
  • Microsoft Advertising on Bing Smart Search
  • Audience Ads by Microsoft
  • Multimedia Ads
  • Product ads
  • Search for responsive ads.

First of all, you have to set up a campaign as per your needs. And we will read about some terms of PPC. Stay with us.

What exactly is an advertisement (an “ad”)?

The first thing a user may see on a search engine or other website (for display ads) is text, image, ads.

Ad Group

In that case, it may be possible that a business person needs more ads to show. In that case, he must create more ad groups.


As we have discussed in SEO, keyword phrases are the basis of traffic. And customers search for them in search engines as queries. The same as for PPC, the right keyword can boost your business.

There are five different types of keywords in Google ads that a user can use.

Exact Match: When a customer types the same keywords, only your ads will be visible.

Phrase Match – As it seems from its name, that phrase must be present in the query then your ads will show to the customer.

Broad Match—like its name, you need to match words in your keyword phrase with search queries. And your ad will be reachable to customers.

Broad Match Modifier: It is an advanced version of Broad Match. When you add the plus (+) sign with keywords, it is called the Broad Match Modifier. After using this, your ads will show only on keywords that include them.

Negative Keywords: We consider this keyword as crucial as others. Because this keyword type prevents you from wasting money on unnecessary queries. If there is no revenue on a particular keyword, the phrase does not belong to your category. Then you should add it to the negative list immediately.

Bidding System

Pay per Click is mainly working on a bidding system. The more money you spend, the more customers you can reach. You should take one thing for a grant here: the bidding system depends on many factors, like quality score. So, you may pay less your ad gets more clicks because of a better ad ranking system.

You bid for keywords, and if a customer searches for that query. Your ad will appear there because you have paid more for it than others. A customer ticks on your ad and comes to your site.


CPC means “Cost per Click.” It means when a customer visits your website after clicking on your ad. A certain amount is debited from your ad account to the publisher (Google or Bing). That particular amount is called the CPC.

Quality Score

A Quality Score is a type of parameter used by Google to determine whether or not your ad is the best result for a user based on their search query.

The quality score depends on the landing page. The relevance of your keywords, and the click-through rate (CTR). If you have a good quality score and your competitor has less than you. In that case, Google will show your ad at the top of your competitor’s bid, and vice versa.

It means that keyword bids and cost per click are proportional to the quality score.

Ad Rank

On the search engine, if a related term is searched by the customer. The place or position of your ad on the search engine result page is known as “Ad rank.” The good your Ad rank, the more chances that customers come to your webpage.

Ad Rank = Quality Score * Maximum Bid


Extensions make your ads more suitable and user-friendly. There are ten types of extensions users can use in their advertising campaigns.

  • Site links
  • Callout extensions
  • Promotion extensions
  • Affiliate location extensions
  • Structured snippets
  • Call extensions
  • App extensions
  • Lead form extensions (beta)
  • Location extensions
  • Price extensions

What is the difference between SEO & SEM?

It is perhaps the main difference between the two of them.

Yes, you read it correctly. SEO is time-consuming and needs so much time. If you have started SEO with a new website without any backlinks. Then first of all you will have to make the crawling rate good. Then you will have to get quality backlinks for it. It needs quality content writing and constant work on the website.

For example, I started my website, seolinkworld.com, two years ago. Initially, my domain authority was zero, and my website had no organic traffic. But after that, I worked on it and built many backlinks. My website is getting good traffic from around the world now.

If we talked about SEM in PPC, you need a landing page with good money, and the result may see in a couple of hours.

Please keep in mind that just because a result or traffic drives your website right away does not guarantee that you will receive an ROI (Return on Investment) from day one.

So, it is clear that PPC works faster than SEO.

Costing – How much to spend?

Well, most people make the mistake of thinking that SEO is free; we do not need to pay anyone. Hold on to them for a second. From my point of view, SEO is not free at all. Because you have to hire people for their services. Like content writing, Content marketing, SEO services, graphic designing, and website development.

Since these are all one-time investments, you need to pay for the additional service later.

But in PPC, some services are needed. The rest of you have to pay Google or Bing to play your website’s ad campaign on their platform.

In the short term, PPC can be close to SEO in expenses. But in the long, SEO is better than PPC. At the very moment when you are about to exhaust your ad balance. The search engine instantly stops showing your ad. Here, you will appreciate the importance of SEO.

If you have ranked once, then you should only maintain your positions. It is not required to pay anyone. Spend time to increase the sales and growth of your business.

What should you do: SEO or PPC?

The Businessman frequently asked these questions, and we understand why. SEO & SEM both have their pros and cons. SEO is time-consuming, whereas PPC is costly in the long term.

In those circumstances, you have to find a balanced answer. You can start with both. It also depends on the budget. If you can afford both of them, then follow that rule; otherwise, pick one of them accordingly.

As we have explained, the time taken for both of them is not the same. So, keep that thing in your mind.


So, after checking the facts between SEO and SEM. We have agreed on mutual points that Search Engine Optimization takes time. It does not need any monthly ad budget. Its result will be long-lasting, and once your website ranks in the top 10, then it will be there 24*7.

But, search engine marketing needs money too to promote your business. It can provide instant results, but you should have a handsome amount.

The advantages and disadvantages have been briefed to you. So, choose things smartly and take your business to the next level.

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