Need a Quote? Call Us (619) 377-1554

SEO Vs SEM: Difference and Working, Which one is Better?

SEO vs SEM Difference and Working

Need quick Google search results? Well, it can happen but the deal here is you need to dominate Google by making it fast! So, how can you do this? 

Choosing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? After all, these are the two powerful digital marketing options you get to make it happen.

We understand how difficult it is to determine which marketing tool goes best with your product promotion and helps you raise brand awareness. Not just the right marketing tool but getting confused about choosing the right social media management company is also a challenge. 

Therefore to give you a better insight, here we are discussing everything from basic and differences to SEO and SEM complementing elements. So, read this article thoroughly and choose the best as per business needs.

What is SEO? How does it Work?


Both SEO and SEM can be seen as reciprocal to each other, yet both differ in terms of their marketing strategy and the action taken to achieve specified goals. 

Simply, Search engine optimization (SEO) is used to increase organic visibility in different search engines. The main purpose of SEO is to drive the target audience to the website and enhance brand awareness. 

As SEO works to drive organic traffic to the website, it focuses on effectively optimizing the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) and ranking the website following Google Search Algorithm. Factors such as internal links, web page content, website experience, etc., built the webpage to rank higher on search results. And this is what Google aims to do i.e. to deliver searchers top results of their queries.

List of SEO Techniques

After understanding the meaning and working of SEO now let’s understand SEO techniques. These SEO techniques are the core that brings and increase organic website traffic and takes website traffic to the next level. List of some common SEO techniques:

  • Technical SEO
  • Content Marketing
  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO
  • Image Optimization
  • Topic Modeling
  • Internal Linking
  • Site Structure

List of SEO Tool

SEO tools are one of the best sources that enable users to get an insider overview of how their site is functioning and help them understand why their website is performing in a certain way. Below we have suggested some of the paid and free SEO tools that help digital marketing experts in promoting SEO practices.

  • Google Ads Keyword Planner
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • SEO Spider
  • Marketing SEO Tool: SEMRush
  • Google Optimize

What is SEM? How does it work?


Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is paid marketing that functions on paid search platforms. It helps organizations in increasing traffic to their websites and gains visibility on search results.

SEM works by incorporating numerous SMM Marketing, purchasing Microsoft Ads, Search Engine Advertising (SEA) programs, and most importantly the core pay-per-click (PPC) to boost clients’ brand image in the search results.

The fact that the entire marketing is performed using paid ad platforms. SEM requires a good budget to determine how the campaign should run including what tools. Thus, specifying a budget is important to run a successful and cost-effective campaign including data analysis and ads. In fact, it can optimize the performance of ad campaigns by counting additional techniques for ongoing campaigns.

List of SEM Strategies

Undoubtedly, getting organic traffic is crucial to attracting higher organic traffic to the website. But the fact that to win SERPs at the initial stage company needs to invest to gain traffic is something that makes SEM an essential marketing technique. List of some famous SEM strategies:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Marking Keyword/ Keyword Intent (Based on Demographic)
  • Keyword Competiton and Keyword Volume
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM Marketing)
  • Product Market Copy
  • Infographic
  • Google Keywords and Account
  • Keyword Quality Score

List of SEM Tools

SEM considers paid ads which means the inclusion of money-invested tools and to effectively use such tools there’s a requirement of building a successful strategy and the right utilization of marketing tools. Mixing all help in understanding the market better and effectively boosting the site performance. Let’s take a look at some of the famous SEM tools in 2022:

  • SemRush
  • Google Trends
  • Google Ads Editor
  • Unbounce
  • Keyword Research MOZ
  • Web Analytics Tools  (Google, Cloudflare, Open Web Analytics)
  • SpyFu

The Difference between SEO and SEM

So, from above it is understood that SEO and SEM work as two sides of the same coin. However, there’s a huge difference in terms of their direction of using techniques and the purpose of using tools performed by social media marketing agencies. Let’s take a look at the SEO and SEM differences and understand what elements make them different from each other:

Base of Difference Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Complementary Element SEO is an integral part of search engine marketing SEM is an integral part of SEO and is used for traffic generation
Best For Best for companies with a tight budget. Best for companies that want to promote their product by paying a good amount.
Companies Great for established firms looking for optimization of their website. Great for both established and startup companies as it brings initial visibility to the site.
Traffic Limitation No limitation on traffic as the search is organic. Limited traffic as it considers purchased search visibility.
Level of Competition The level of competition is low due to organic traffic. The level of competition is high due to paid traffic.
Affordability SEO is highly affordable. SEM is highly expensive. However, the cost might fluctuate based on geographical location.
Project Run SEO is great if you are looking for long-term benefits. SEM is great if you are looking for short-term benefits.
Target Audience No specified audience is targeted for search results. The specified audience is targeted based on product or service for search results.
Result Deliverance SEO traffic generation can take over a month to deliver significant traffic growth. SEM can generate and bring instant traffic to your website using effective SMM marketing.
Click Through Rates (CTR) SEO gets higher CTR than paid ones do. Being paid marketing by nature, SEM gets a lower CTR compared to SEO.

What Makes SEO and SEM Intergarl To Each Other?

Before making any purchase every person searches out the specified product online in order to make a better and smarter purchase. The top result that appears primarily on their search engine changes the entire game of marketing. The reason is simple i.e. the marketing tools companies prefer to sell their product. Therefore, having a strong presence on a web search engine is crucial for companies if they want to be the audience’s first priority.

SEO and SEM both consider varied marketing techniques and tools that separate them but their focused path and market research make them working on with each other. Simply, both counts on specified keywords to drive either organic (SEO) or paid (SEM) traffic to their client’s website.

People use search engines to search for something they’re looking for, and they’ll be able to find it either through paid results or organic results. Both serve the same purpose which is to establish the client’s website on higher search results.

In spite of the fact that the marketing techniques used by digital marketing companies and social media marketing agency for each are different. Both SEO and SEM focus on increasing traffic flows based on marketing activities. The ultimate goal of both is to drive huge traffic to the web pages.

SEO and SEM can become integral to each other when the website runs highly SEO friendly, only then the success rate of SEM will be increased. This is something that cut down the fact of SEO vs SEM.

For the newer websites, doing SEO with prioritizing PPC campaign results greatly in establishing websites top on search results. Fundamentally, a good SEO is the foundation of a great SEM. When set up correctly, only then the website gets a clear path to success. Google cannot be fooled so by following SERPs and Google algorithms. The social media management company or digital media company builds their client’s credible websites.

SEO or SEM Which One is Better?

Determining either SEO or SEM is not as easy and quick as it looks. One must have to consider a number of things before jumping to the conclusion of selecting the right digital marketing tool. In some cases, we can say the combination of SEO and SEM both work great.

So ultimately when it comes to digital marketing there’s no one size fits all tool or technique. To clear you with a better insight we have divided both of them based on different categories:

A. When To Select

  • SEO – Having a strong brand with a strong presence and wanting to grow business for the long term run and to get maximized ROI.
  • SEM – Low exposure and visibility on search results, desires to promote a unique product or service instantly lead the target audience to the landing page promoting any offer.

B. Budget

  • SEO-  Works best for low budget, low product margin, slow return on investment
  • SEM- High cost per click, high product margin, instant or higher return on investment (ROI)

C. Competitors

  • SEO –  Competitor analysis, with a huge scope of getting organic traffic on the website.
  • SEM – Competitor analysis is made on the basis of keywords of the specified niche, Exposure to higher search results, and a lot of competition.

D. Business Goals

  • SEO – Build audience trust, and increase brand credibility and awareness, best option for organizations looking for long term growth.
  • SEM – Best to promote a new service or product, instantly boost sales or promote service, and deliver scalable wins.

E. Best For

  • SEO – Best option to win a higher audience by getting organic traffic.
  • SEM – Target most on competitors’ keywords, wins lead based on clicks and highlighting via Ads.

F. Product Visibility

  • SEO – Customers can buy your products by reading reviews, making comparisons, reading blogs, target long buying cycle.
  • SEM – Customers have a target product to buy and high search results. They make purchases instantly.


In a Nutshell,

Whether you choose SEO or SEM what factors needed to be focused on are time, budget, and long-term goals. Focusing on three can be ideal to determine the best Digital Marketing Company or Social Media Marketing Agency that can combine and perform both successfully.

Both channels have their own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding where your business lies, can give you a clear overview of what works best for your business.

At Self Image Media, we mastered both. We understand the importance of advertising and search results, and that’s why we balance both equally. Our SEO optimization team and SMM Marketing experts focus on leveraging clients’ business by offering the right marketing channel analyzing their business requirements. Simply tell us your business interest and see your profit margins boost like never before.

So, are you ready to take your business to next level? Connect with our team and unbox uncounted possibilities of profit growth with us today!

Read More ➣➣ 10 Powerful SEO Tips To Boost Traffic To Your Website

437 J St #203, San Diego, CA 92101, United States
(619) 363-7137

Follow Us On Social Media:


Web Design Or Marketing

Request a Free Proposal

Nullam quis risus eget urna mollis ornare vel eu leo. Aenean lacinia bibendum nulla sed 

Join our newsletter and get a 20% discount
Promotion nulla vitae elit libero a pharetra augue