SEO Vs SEM: Differences And Similarities Between SEO And SEM

SEO Vs SEM – Understand the differences and similarities between the two. Learn about various tools and techniques involved in SEO and SEM:

Search marketing is a technique to improve visibility, ranking, and traffic, and both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are categories of it.

SEM and SEO play a significant role in improving traffic and visibility in the search results. Both of these techniques are opposite of each other but work with the same intentions and outcomes.


Understanding SEO And SEM

There are differences between SEO vs SEM, and it is good to have an in-depth knowledge of it if you want to improve your website traffic. So in this article, we will give you complete information on SEO and SEM and the key differences between SEO vs SEM.

Facts Checks: Google has a 90.1% market share of the total search engine, but the average page of the top 10 list on google is 1 to 2 years old. Therefore, you can understand time and value or organic traffic on the website by using SEO.

Businesses who adopt both SEO and SEM(PPC) can get 25% + clicks and 27% + profits than those businesses use a single-channel approach.

Difference Between SEO Vs SEM

FactorsSEO SEM
AdsSEO doesn’t include ad designation, and search results of SEO have featured snippets. SEM includes ad designation, and Search results of SEM have the ad extension.
Speciality SEO improves the visibility of the website.SEM can improve the sales of a small business.
Value over timeSEO offers high value to your website over time.SEM offers immediate results, but it doesn't stay effective over time.
PayingThere is no payment required when a visitor clicks on the search result of SEO. Payment is required when a visitor clicks on the search result of SEM.
TestingsSEO is not good for testing your website.SEM is good for testing your website.
Specify AudienceThe SEO search result doesn’t target the audience. SEM search result targets the selected audience.
Competition Competition is lesser due to the requirement of organic content.Competition is higher in the targeted keywords.
ImpactsThe Impact of SEO requires time.SEM impacts are immediate
Click-Through Rate (CTR)Click-Through Rate (CTR) of SEO is higherClick-Through Rate (CTR) of SEM is lower than SEO

Similarities Between SEO And SEM

Similarities are enlisted below:

  • SEO and SEM help to grow a website and improve traffic on it.
  • SEO and SEM help brands to appear in the search result.
  • Website owners require knowing their audience to use both SEO and SEM.
  • They both require regular testing and proper optimization to stay on top.
  • They both target specific audiences for specific keywords.

What Is SEO

The term SEO is a short form of Search Engine Optimization that works to optimize and improve the website visibility on the natural (organic traffic) SERPs or Search Engine Result Pages. In other words, it is beneficial for optimizing the website so it can become highly visible for relevant searches.


High visibility of the web pages in search results can get good customer attention to that website’s business.

Marketing Report

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There are two major types of SEO: the first one is On-page SEO, and the other is Off-page SEO. Hence, both of these types are essential to improve website traffic organically.

What is Organic Traffic?

It is the number of visitors that visit a website as organic or unpaid search results. Therefore, it is completely the opposite of the paid traffic (traffic created by paid ads).

Recommended Reading =>> 10 Best Private Search Engines

On-Page SEO

On the page, SEO is also called on-site SEO because it covers all the on-site techniques that can be employed for assuring the quality of a webpage as per the SERP rankings. Different factors work in the website ranking, such as optimized content, site accessibility, title tags, page speed, keywords, etc.

On-page, SEO uses technical elements and content elements for increasing the webpage quality. Therefore, on-page SEO can generate more traffic to the website by different factors.

These factors are:

#1) URL Structure

URL structure plays an essential role in the website’s growth because it allows a search engine for crawling from the page-to-page on the website, making the navigation easier for visitors.

It is good to have a good URL structure, so you need to put keywords in the URL to make it appropriate for organic traffic. URLs must be relevant, short, and easy to understand so that your website can get more visitors.

In URL structure, pillar pages work to improve the website through specific pages dedicated to famous and more searchable topics. Website owners can link different pages in the pillar pages so that visitors can visit those pages as well.

#2) Content

Content is a key factor to attach visitors to the website because engaging and informative content generates more organic traffic as it holds some of the essential aspects of SEO.

Content of the website should be useful and well optimized for the reader. If you are willing to create the best content, then you should follow the instructions given below:

  • Content should be specific according to the title and keyword to get more traffic due to the detailed information.
  • Content should be unique even from the other pages of the website. It should consist of 500+ words so that the search engine can prioritize your website.
  • Use the title and keywords properly because the search engine algorithm works according to the keyword density.

#3) Title Tag

A title tag is a web page title or the main heading of a web page in SERP, so always try to use the targeted keyword in the webpage title. For using keyword properly, you can follow the instructions given below:

  • Keep the title of the web page to almost 55-65 characters that include spaces.
  • Try to put the keyword at the beginning of the title but don’t stuff the keyword unnecessarily.

#4) Internal Linking

Internal linking of the web pages also plays a vital role in on-page SEO. Linking various relevant web pages of a website is beneficial because it can crawl more and more on search engines and keep visitors engaged with the website. For improving the internal linking of the website, you can follow the below instructions:

  • Add or link the relevant and existing content in the new post.
  • Try to create relevant content according to the pillar page to link multiple web pages with that pillar page of the website.
  • Ensure that you have to link at least 2 to 3 links with every new web page of your website.

#5) Headings

Generally, the search engine gives a little more value to headings compared to other web page text that means search engine algorithms detect the headings for placing a web page in the relevant search.

You must include the target keyword in the headings, but ensure that your heading reflects the web page’s content. For appropriate heading structure, you need to use H1 heading only once and H2 and H3 for other headings.

#6) Meta Description

In on-page SEO, the meta description does not directly impact the on-page optimization because it is a factor that is beneficial for the users so that they can visit the relevant web page. In simple words, the meta description is a short detail that appears at the bottom of the URL in a search engine’s results.

You need to make sure that you create a meta description under 150 characters so that a complete description can be visible in the search results.

#7) Keywords

According to the changes in search engines’ algorithms, keywords are becoming less important now, but keyword optimization is still essential for SEO. For better organic traffic, you need to think about the target audience and their usual searches, then optimize your website’s content according to those keywords and searches.

#8) Images

The image of the website should be well optimized and visible for the visitors of your website. Apart from it, alt text in images also holds an important aspect of content management because these texts keep the website in acquiescence with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Ensure that you described the web page image in almost 8 to 10 words and include the keywords in it.

#9) Page Performance

Most of the above on-page SEO factors play a vital role in the structure and quality of the content, but it is essential to improve the performance of the page so that it can take less time and visitors can visit more and more. It is beneficial for the website to enhance the visitor’s experience.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is a technique to improve the rank of your website in SERPs or Search Engine Results Page. In other words, this technique is beneficial for a website to have more visibility in the search results.

According to the comparison of on-page SEO, this SEO technique is not associated with the website and content because it works with different tactics to improve the authority of a website. Off-Page SEO shows the importance of the websites to visitors. There are different factors of off-page SEO.

They are as follows:

#1) Link Building

Link building works as a base of the strategy in off-page SEO because it helps gather an audience for surpassing your competitor’s website rank. As we have mentioned above, off-page SEO aims to create the authority of your business and the position of your website.

In the website ranking process, the search engine algorithm reads the links of a web page and crawls these links to search for web pages and rank them. Before using the linking building on the website, you need to know about the good and bad linking to the website. So, here is a list of good and bad links in off-page SEO.

Good link building:

  • Links from the relevant website
  • Links must have a relevant anchor text.
  • Links should be trusted (without having malware in the link)
  • Links should have proper tags.

Bad Link building:

  • Links of the comment
  • Blog directories
  • Article directories
  • Forum signatures

#2) Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing plays a vital role in attracting the targeted audience and improving the traffic to your website. You can use social media as a platform to spread your business by reaching potential customers through it.

You need to remember that maintaining strong communication and professional presence on social media platforms is suitable for a website because more and more audiences can know about it through these platforms.

#3) Branding

Branding and promoting a business is a great idea to achieve a targeted audience and make them loyal customers/users of your services. Branding is an important factor of off-page SEO that works to expand the business to reach more and more people and gain more visitors to the website.

Social media marketing and branding helps to spread your website or business to the people for gaining a massive number of visitors/customers.

#4) Customer Reviews

As the name suggests, customer reviews are an opinion of a visitor or a customer of your website so that you can use these opinions to optimize your website for a better user experience. This off-page SEO technique helps you improve your website according to your visitors to crawl better according to the positive customer reviews.

Techniques In SEO

There are 3 major types of techniques in SEO that can be used while optimizing a website for better visibility. Let’s understand these techniques briefly.

Techniques of SEO

#1) White Hat SEO

This technique works with website optimization strategies, which are approved by Google. In other words, White hat SEO is a technique to improve the search ranking on the result page of a search engine. This SEO technique includes different factors such as:

  • Make the website easier to navigate.
  • It works under the rules of Google.
  • It offers quality and well-optimized content.
  • Make a website platform friendly (both mobile and web browser).

#2) Black Hat SEO

It is the opposite of the White Hat SEO because it works against the search engine guidelines. In other words, this technique is used to improve the website ranking by violating the terms and services of a search engine.

This technique in SEO involves different factors such as cloaking, keyword stuffing, and usage of private links. It is used as an unethical way to improve the website traffic on the search engine.

#3) Grey Hat SEO

As its name describes it, a Grey Hat SEO works between White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO because a website can be optimized using both black hat and white hat techniques. You can use this Grey Hat SEO if your website doesn’t have the 100% fulfillment of Google-approved guidelines for search results.

This technique can improve the ranking of your website without having any negative consequences.

Benefits Of SEO

  • It doesn’t include any paid ads for improving website traffic.
  • SEO works to target the quality of traffic for the website.
  • It can improve the user experience of your website.
  • Improves brand credibility and visibility.
  • Works as a long-term strategy for the website.
  • Your website gets more clicks than SEM.

What Is SEM

SEM is the short term of Search Engine Marketing that offers a fantastic way for new businesses to reach their targeted audience. It is a paid technique to improve the website’s visibility, and Google ads are the most commonly used tool for the paid ads on the website.

SEM new

SEM first targets the selected keywords. When a user searches for these keywords, then it pushes the website by putting an ad on it. The most potent aspect of search engine marketing is that it provides the opportunity to the advertisers by putting their ads on the users’ search results.

SEM is a Pay-Per-Click or PPC, which means you need to pay according to the clicks on the website. For example, if 30 users click on your website, you must pay according to it. Various SEM strategies can be implemented on a website to improve the visibility and traffic on it.

You can use ads to promote your website if your website has a competition with well-established websites. As you can see in the below example, you are an RGB lights manufacturer. So, if you want to rank for the “RGB lights,” then there is little chance of it because you need to face big brands like Amazon and Flipkart.

In this case, SEM helps you to get more recognition because of the ads on your website.

RGB lights manufacturer example

As we have explained previously, SEO generates organic traffic, but it takes a longer time, so it is good to use SEM for your website if you want to stand against big brands in search engine results.

What Is PPC

Pay-Per-Click advertising or (PPC) means a website owner needs to pay for every visitor coming from or every click generated from the advertisement on the search engine. As you can see in the image below, the search results have some websites with the “Ad” mark on them, which means these website owners are using ads to promote their website on the search engine.


Strategies In Search Engine Marketing

  • First thing first, you need to understand the mindset of your targeted audience by doing appropriate research of requirements and the fulfillment of the market.
  • Assign your goals, which means your plans on your product and improve it for a better user experience.
  • Use various tools to improve your website using multiple SEM tools, such as the Keyword analysis tool, which is beneficial for finding the best keywords to enhance the traffic. You can also test the keyword frequently with these tools.
  • Add unique content for the website because you can attract more audience through it.
  • Go for unique web designing to grab the attention of the visitor so that they visit again and again.
  • Use the technique of link building so that your visitors can go through different web pages to improve the engagement of visitors.
  • Add more and more articles so that users can go through various web pages of your website. You can also use SEO to optimize your data for better results.
  • Try to update your blogs and web pages because it can help you to get more views.
  • At last, always try to track the website performance by using different tracking software.

Tools for SEM

SEM tools

There are many useful tools for SEM available in the market. Let’s see some of them in detail-

#1) Semrush

Semrush offers a wide range of techniques to improve the visibility of a website. This tool provides various tools such as SEO, PPC, Marketing Insights, Competitive Research, Campaign Management, Keyword Research, PR, Content Marketing.

This tool allows users to find their competitors and find the best keywords to become different from the competitor’s website. Semrush is an amazing tool to find the best opportunity for ranking the website. You can also find the composition of the ad on the competitor’s website.

#2) Google Trends

It helps you to know the search value analytics for the specific keywords that allows you to find the trending terms in the search engine. This tool is a website that helps to analyze and find the top search queries popularity in Google Search in various languages. Google Trends works through different graphs for comparing the search volume of various queries over time.

Website: Google Trends

#3) Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner is an incredible tool that is beneficial for searching the keywords on your website. This tool helps you to find new keywords that are related to the website so that you can optimize your website according to it.

Keywords planners also allow significant estimates for every keyword so that you can find which keywords work best for your advertisement.

Website: Keyword Planner

#4) is a fantastic tool that offers a wide range of techniques to improve the viability of the website. You can go through various platforms such as Google, Bing, Instagram, Twitter, App Store, and Amazon so that users can segment the keyword research by different channels.

You can also use this tool for analyzing the search trend on Google, for assuring the keywords are improving in terms of popularity.


#5) SpyFu

It is the best tool to keep your eyes on the competitor’s keywords and their expenditure on the keyword. You can also search the domain through SpyFu and every organically ranked keyword on the search engine. Apart from these features, you can also monitor your paid as well as SEO ranking on various search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Bing.

Website: SpyFu

Benefits Of SEM

  • You can reach your target audience instantly.
  • Business owners can enhance their brand awareness.
  • You can target your audience by optimizing Ads.
  • SEM helps to improve traffic by the visibility of the Ad
  • You can easily place and maintain ads quicker and easier.
  • You have to pay per action.
  • SEM can quickly test and measure web page performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) Which is better: SEO or SEM?

Answer: If you are new to the search engine platform and want to increase your small business, you can use SEM for your website. However, if you want organic traffic and long-term rankings, you can use SEO for the website. These techniques are required in different scenarios, but we recommend SEO because it will serve you in the long term with good results.

Q #2) What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

Answer: SEO works to generate organic traffic by optimizing a website according to the search engine algorithms. SEM works to improve the traffic of a website by using ads on it for the search results.

Q #3) What is the relationship between SEO and SEM?

Answer: Both of these search marketing techniques are used for increasing the number of visitors to a website through different methods.

Q #4) How do SEO and SEM work together?

Answer: They can work together if a website owner wants to improve the traffic immediately but stay in the good rankings for a long time. You can put ads on your website by SEM and use SEO techniques to optimize your website according to the search engine guidelines.


This article provides all the detailed information that can help you understand the major differences between SEO vs SEM. SEO and SEM are almost opposite to each other, but they offer similar outcomes in website ranking improvement.

SEO is search engine optimization that works to improve the visibility of a website and generates organic views. SEM is search engine marketing that also improves the website’s visibility using ads, and website owners need to pay according to the number of clicks on their website’s ads. Hence, there are some essential differences between SEO and SEM.

You can read this article if you want to learn SEO and SEM with their significant differences for understanding these techniques before using them on your website.