Did you know approximately 5 billion searches happen on Google every single day?

According to recent research from experts, it has found that 33% of people go with search engines to discover a new brand. That means people are using search engines as a source to find the answers to their queries. The reason why content creators, marketers are focusing on different marketing techniques is to make their content visible to the search results. 

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SEO and SEM are the two heroes of online marketing, where one has the power to rank your website on top of the search engine result page without spending a single penny. In contrast, others can give the same results by spending a penny.

But which one is paid- is it SEO or SEM? Or Which of them is good for my business?

Are you striving to know the answer to these questions/ 

Cheer up, you’ve found the right place: Yes, you will get all your answers related to SEO vs. SEM!

We will dive into the difference between SEO and SEM after learning the basics of both terms, including their benefits. 

So, let’s start with SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO, sometimes also called Search Engine Optimization, is a search marketing tactic that targets a website’s traffic, authority, visibility, and much more. It’s the art of optimizing a web page for search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., so that they recommend your content to the right searchers. 

Besides, if you are looking for a non-paid search marketing practice, SEO occupies this space. In another way, it helps to make your website rank top in search engines without paying a single penny. 

Why Do You Need SEO For Your Business?

As mentioned above, SEO is vital in improving the searchability, visibility, and authority of web pages. That ultimately means if you are in an online business, it offers real value. To know its more benefits and business uses, check the below key points: 

  • Organic search most ideal way of getting Website Traffic
  • It brings the opportunity to build trust & credibility. 
  • Leveraging good SEO will make things better for your business and the users. 
  • Giving time to Local SEO will help in improving engagement, conversions & traffic. 
  • SEO enhances the buying cycle
  • SEO Algorithms are constantly being changed and updated for a better user experience.
  • This search marketing technique is relatively cheaper than others.
  • It’s A Long-Term Strategy
  • It’s Quantifiable

SEO Statistics For Marketers 2021

  • 92% of marketers and businesses who embraced SEO strategy notice good results. 
  • 70% of online marketers consider SEO to be the best source than PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. 
  • 82% of marketers and businesses who embraced SEO strategy notice good results. Above 60% of marketers believe the results of SEO are only visible if it is done correctly. 

Read More: 10 Ben

Benefits of Your Company Can Reap from SEO Implementation

What Is SEM?

SEM, also known as Search Engine Marketing, is another marketing tactic to pull websites from other pages to the first page of the SERP, but this time you need to pay some amount of bucks.

It is traditionally SEO plus pay-per-click (advertisement) that gives you the way to grow your business through search.

Why Do You Need SEM For Your Business?

SEM is evolving as the fastest technique to help brands with online visibility, awareness, and raising page rank on search results quickly. 

  • It offers instant brand awareness in search engines
  • Easy and quick option to generate revenues. 
  • Can do A/B testing of paid ad copy. 
  • Easy to target people in the right place & time.
  • It offers Qualified Leads.
  • Create Geo-Targeted Search Ads.
  • Pay only per action.
  • Easy to test and measure performance.

SEM Statistics For Marketers 2021

  • Since the 1990s, SEM has been around the corner to bring opportunities for marketers.
  • 69% of Google’s paid search clicks come from mobile devices ( US users in 2019). 
  • Search engine marketing is worthy of building trust; over 88% of searchers say they have more faith in online reviews and ratings than a personal recommendation. 

SEO vs. SEM:  Similarities

Now, let’s see what similarities between these two marketing techniques ( SEO and SEM) are: 

  • When it comes to the website’s visibility, both are useful for improving it and will show better in the SERPs by utilizing correct techniques such as high-performing keywords.
  • Besides, both are powerful marketing tactics that can drive quality, relevant and quantitative traffic to your site. They have the engaging strength allowing users to click through to your site — one is organic, the other is paid.
  • To reach your achievement means potential customers who can help you increase revenue for your business; you need a deep understanding of your audience. For that, both strategies can work like wonders, helping with insightful information on your potential customers.  
  • Since search marketing is a game of keywords, both need proper research to find out the high-performing and relevant keywords. 
  • Also, competitors had their role in online marketing or any other form of marketing. They are the one who lets you know how successful you are in achieving the target, where you are lacking, or what particular improvement you can make to be the king of your niche. Therefore, deciding on both requires good knowledge to perform competitors analysis.  
  • Lastly, SEM and SEO require ongoing monitoring, optimization,  and testing to get solid ROI and long-term results.

SEO vs. SEM: What Are The Differences?

Here are some differences between the two marketing channels.

SEM Results Are Marked Ads on the SERPs:

When you’re running a search in Google, you will see some results with the “Ads” icon and some without it. The list with that icon is paid advertisements at the top: search engine marketing, where someone’s paying to be at the top of Google. On the other hand, the list you see without ad notation is the search engine optimization world. That means look-wise, both are different.

SEO Results Are Durable:

When it comes to positioning, organic results are durable in time.  That means all the work you invest in positioning your website concerning certain terms like keywords; the positioning will be durable in time unless someone does a far better job than you or the Google algorithm changes. In contrast, SEM results are not durable in time.

It’s Far Easy To Segment Audience Using SEM:

SEO techniques do not allow segmenting the user to whom your message is going to reach. Whereas online advertising (SEM) generally can segment the audience you want to reach.

You Don’t Have To Pay For Every Single Impression or Click With SEO:

Marketers have to pay accordingly depending on the type of campaign and user’s clicks ( cost per click) or impression ( cost per impressions). However, they don’t have to pay anything for a user’s clicks on an organic listing due to SEO. 

SEO Can’t Let You Achieve Immediate Results, But SEM Can:

The results you get from SEM are as quick as your campaign is live. The SEM implementation will instantly show ads in the search results. At the same time, SEO is a bit time taking unless there is no competition. You have to wait, i.e., for a few months, to see organic results when it is appropriately implemented. 

SEO positioning is somewhat slow; there are no shortcuts. Most search engines reward websites that are periodically updated, creating original and quality content. Whereas in paid marketing, the results are quick.

SEO Delivers Successive Results

The best part of implementing SEO technique, over time, it continues to add value. Thus, the ROI (return of investment) is cumulative. It leaves long-lasting results. Even if you stop implementing it for a whole, the results will not disappear.

In contrast, if you stop investing in SEM, your ads will disappear. It will no longer be visible on search results.

You Can Have a Quick Test Of Ads (SEM) Than SEO

In paid advertisements, it is easy to test Ad copy.  You can check which content is working well for your targeted audience, where you need to make changes,  test those things and then go with the one that fits well. Comparably, it is not possible to do with SEO. 

Difference Between SEO And SEM

SEO is also called Search Engine Optimization. SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing.
Implementing SEO techniques is free of cost. SEM is a paid technique and requires money in your wallet.
The organic listing is seen after the Ads on SERP. With Ads icons, it is usually seen at the top of SERP.
SEO can be implemented to SEM. SEM cannot be applied to SEO. And includes SEO and PPC.
SEO used to get high traffic SEM is used to get high traffic as well as to boost up sales and business.
It’s a time taking process. It’s a fast process.
It is a slow and steady process but adds value to your website in the long term. SEM is a relatively faster process, but there are no such value additions to your website.


Also read: 15 Must-Have Skills For Digital Marketers That Will Help Them to Grow in 2021

Ending Words!

Overall, the straight answer to which one you should pick- SEO vs. SEM, depends on upon:

What is your goal- whether you need quick traffic, segment the target audience, test the campaign, SEM is a perfect choice. But, if you need long-lasting results and don’t want to pay a single penny for clicks or impressions.

However, if you already have a strong position on an organic listing, SEM allows you to get better results. Therefore, understand your purpose of doing marketing and then make a strategy to gain a competitive advantage.