The Difference Between SEO vs. SEM

Date: October 1, 28, 2021

Everything that everyone needs can now be found with just a few taps. That’s all thanks to search engines that scour the web for results --all while taking the customer persona into consideration.

What’s not commonly known is that there are a lot of things that go behind providing results. With Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), we’re given the best matches.

But what exactly are SEO and SEM? It’s all in the names.


There are two meanings to the word 'optimize'. As a verb, it is to make the best or the most effective use of something while in computing, it is defined as rearrangement or rewriting to improve efficiency of data retrieval or processing.

Either way, it is applicable to how SEO works. Use the best words, word combinations, or specific keywords in your content so your website or landing page has a better chance of being the top result in every related search. This way, you are likely to catch a potential client's attention and be the store they buy from. The best part? SEO is free.

❗Pro-tip: To improve your site's ranking in search engines, narrow the descriptions or tags down when writing about your products. You have a better chance of appearing at the top results with “Where to buy healthy flavored Greek yogurt” compared to a wider keyword of “yogurt in my area”.


This, on the other hand, is a sure way to make your offer appear on top of search results. Search Engine Marketing is SEO plus the use of pay-per-click or paid advertising tactics to ensure that your website’s traffic increases and gains more visibility.

See the “Ad” just before the domain name? That indicates that it’s paid—thus, a sample of SEM.

SEM is also said to be a better driver for conversions. Not only does it build awareness by having top results, but also links out to sales pages rather than homepages.

❗Pro-tip: Want to know what people are searching for? Check out Google Trends to gather information and improve your materials.

TL;DR: SEO is unpaid and relies on organic results while SEM uses paid strategies on top of SEO practices. They are good in their own ways, but the possibilities when both are utilized are endless and gets you brand recognition, brand recall, and sales.

We can help you optimize and market with our signature service.


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