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SEO vs SEM: Which One is Better for Marketing?

Updated December 28, 2022
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SEO vs SEM: Which One is Better for Marketing?

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SEO vs SEM: Which One is Better for Marketing?

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results-sometimes referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users; this increases the number of visitors, and consequently, the number of sales or leads generated by that web site. Organic Search engine optimization is the process of affecting a website’s organic results in search engines. Organic results are those search engine listings that appear without paid advertising above them. The goal is to increase a site’s ranking within an organic listing, by optimizing its content and metadata so as to make it more relevant to the search query.

What are the Benefits of SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) has the power to make or break your website. SEO can help you increase traffic and boost your company’s visibility in the online world. SEO can help your site’s ranking in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing by improving on aspects such as title tags, meta descriptions, and on-page content. The goal of SEO is to maximize visibility in search engine results pages (SERPS) so that more people discover your website through these engines. SEO has many benefits that can help you as an entrepreneur. SEO can increase your organic (unpaid) traffic, which is the number of people that visit a website without purchasing something online. Organic traffic can be measured by the number of visits to your website from search engine results pages and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This type of traffic is free for you directly from search engines, which means more people are seeing your site and making a purchase instead of going elsewhere to learn more about what you offer or to purchase your goods and services. SEO can help you find a new audience for your goods and services. You may not have known that there was an audience for what you offer, but now that you have seen the potential of SEO, it may be a good idea to start advertising in some way. Whether this is done with social media ads or through more traditional means such as print ads, television commercials, or radio spots, the goal of these advertisements is to reach those people who may not have otherwise been reached.SEO can increase the number of people who follow you on social media by showing off your website’s link (in a tweet or retweet) and telling your followers what it is that you offer. This increases the number of people interested in what you are saying and they may want to purchase what you are offering or learn more about it.  This is a low-cost way of reaching more people, as it only costs you time and effort.

What is SEM?

Search engine marketing is the practice of using search engines to bring traffic to websites. SEM can include both pay-per-click advertising and organic search optimization, In SEM, advertising involves purchasing keywords or phrases relevant to a person’s search query and displaying ads on search results pages to relevant users. Organic search results are obtained through a website’s own search engine optimization for its target keywords or phrases, achieving the number one ranking for the searched term. SEM is often thought of as the opposite of SEO; however, both are used to achieve a company’s goal through paid or organic search. In Google AdWords, each keyword can receive a different cost-per-click (CPC) depending on its competition and relevancy. If there are many advertisers bidding on that keyword, the CPC will be low (less than a penny). If there is only one advertiser bidding on that keyword, the CPC will be higher.

What are the Benefits of SEM?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is important for improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engine ranking results. SEM includes both organic search, which involves optimizing your content to rank higher in an un-paid list of search results, and paid advertising, which involves bidding in search engine auctions to appear first, second, or third on the search results page. SEM is an effective way for both small businesses and large brands to increase their visibility in SEO rankings. 

An effective Search Engine Marketing strategy can take many forms, including:

1) Paid advertising – Pay-per-click (PPC), Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Yahoo! Search marketing. These online advertising channels allow a business to pay for the right to have their advertisement appear at the top or side of a search results page for specific keywords. The costs are usually measured in dollars per cost per click (CPC). There is also often a minimum bid amount required before an ad can be displayed.

2) Organic search, where a website or web page is ranked in the natural listings of search engines that are not paid for. To rank higher on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, it is necessary to produce content that users will find valuable and relevant to their search queries. The more backlinks (links pointing to your site), social shares, and citations you have on other websites related to your target keywords, the better chance you will have of ranking highly in organic search results.

3) Social media marketing, which typically takes place on social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest where businesses can create a social media presence that provides value to the audience.

4) Content marketing: Content is defined as anything that you share with your target market or customers. This could be in the form of an article, blog post, video, or infographic. Companies can use content to build trust and establish credibility with customers and prospects who visit their websites.

5) Email marketing – This method is used to communicate with potential and old customers via email. Email marketing can be used for lead generation, customer service, and loyalty programs.


Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) are two of the most important digital marketing strategies for reaching customers. SEM includes both organic and paid search results while SEO only includes organic search results. SEM is an important part of online marketing, but it cannot achieve all goals on its own. Both SEM and SEO are important marketing tools, but they each serve different purposes. SEM is an abbreviation for Search Engine Marketing. SEM uses paid advertisements on search engines, like Google and Bing, to produce traffic for websites.SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a process by which search engine algorithms decide what content to rank at the top of a web page based on information such as keywords, content, and links from other websites. Search engine optimization is important for many businesses, especially e-commerce sites, while search engine marketing is more focused on driving traffic to websites. and increasing conversion rates of e-commerce websites.

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