SEO vs SEM: What’s The Difference? Know the Basics

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What’s the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

The absolute point of difference is the approach.
SEO being completely Free and Organic
While SEM is Paid. Here you pay for your traffic.
So, how do these two work?


Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process of improving the visibility of a website or a page on a website through the use of certain techniques and strategies. Through SEO, a website’s content and the links to the content on the website are optimized so that the website appears higher on a search engine result page. Search engine optimization is an ongoing process that can be improved upon over time. Search engines use a number of different algorithms to determine the placement of websites on their result pages, so it is imperative that a website remains on the page or in the search results so that users can find the website when they search.


SEM, also known as search engine marketing, is the process of increasing visibility with the help of paid search ads. Here we use strategies as paid marketers to put your brand names on the top of search results.
Basically, SEM is the process where brands pay for their brand ads or product ads so as to make them appear as search results on the result pages.
Here marketers use keywords to target viewers and they only get charged when a viewer clicks on their ads as a search result.

Now few other Points of Difference in Terms of Approach

  • SEO – Here the process starts with a thorough Audit of the website. This includes the On-Page details, OFF-Page details, Content, and the other technical details like overall speed and relevance and stuff.
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In the case of SEM, the process starts with in-depth Keyword Research. Here, the marketer tries to find a bunch of keyword terms, that the potential audience will be using in the search engines.
  • SEO takes a lot of time in order to impact the brand. It takes at least 3 to 4 months of hard work, to get your brand on the first few pages of the search result.
Whereas SEM is instant. If you are willing to pay for the visibility and click, then you will just get it, almost immediately.
  • Results from SEO are hard to achieve because you need to do a lot of things and it takes a good amount of time to get the results. Since a lot of things are involved, you cannot just pinpoint one effort.
Where in SEM, your advertiser provides you with all the data in order to measure your success in the campaign. It works very transparently.
These are the Major things about SEO and SEM.
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