Difference between SEO and SEM

Search Engine Optimization is a part of Search Engine Marketing or Search Marketing. This is a well-known thing to many. But, in this article, we shall discuss the difference between SEO and SEM.

Both processes aim to increase visibility in search engines. SEO optimizes your website to get higher rankings in the organic search results while SEM goes beyond SEO. It involves other methods such as PPC advertising, that attract search engine traffic.


As an SEO Agency London, we have extensive knowledge in providing services. Wwe try to elaborate major differences here. Generally, a typical search engine’s results page (SERP) includes two types of results.

The two categories are paid search results and organic search results. Paid results are usually denoted with the letters ‘AD’ to help users distinguish them from the organic results. They appear on the top of each search results page while you find organic results below them.

You can perform the paid search results activities through the different PPC platforms offered by search engines to advertisers. For instance, Google Ads is the advertising tool of Google, and Microsoft Advertising is the ad platform for Bing.

Good SEO practices are a must to get your website on top of the organic results. Developing an SEO friendly website and publishing content that satisfies the intent of the user is the way to do it, while appearing organically.

Both SEO and PPC combine to generally form digital marketing, as Search Engine Marketing or SEM in short.

Which is better, SEO or SEM?

There are different factors that replicate the importance of both these Digital Marketing Services and techniques. Let’s take a look at how they differ.


Although both SEO and SEM deliver great results, SEO takes more time to generate results while PPC is almost instant. However, it’s the way that you opt to drive traffic to your website. It also depends on your overall digital marketing goals.

SEM Services (paid search advertising) can give traffic faster, but you can have parallel work on your SEO, in case you want to limit your payments. If you want to create a long-lasting online business without relying on paid traffic, then SEO is your answer.


Obviously organic SEO is generally the best marketing tactic for long-lasting results, and cost nothing. On the other hand, SEM cost you more while choosing trending keywords. Websites generally rank high in the organic results for their target keywords.

SEO helps draw traffic 24/ along with industry recognition and you can enjoy all the benefits. Websites that use PPC can still get targeted traffic from search engines but they have to pay for it. You have minimal traffic coming-in, once you stop the paid campaigns.

Ease of learning

Both SEO and PPC can be learnt easily, out of interest. But, becoming a PPC expert is easier than turning to be an SEO expert. PPC has fewer rules compared to SEO. Alongside, while you learn how to use a PPC platform, you can start experimenting with PPC campaigns.

In learning SEO, you understand how search engines work and in particular and how ranking works. If you take into account that search engines use hundreds of rules with SEO Services, while the results will appear for a particular search term and need to work heavily.