The Relation Between SEO And SEM


The Relation Between SEO And SEM


What Is The Difference Between SEO and SEM?

The main difference between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is, SEO focuses on optimizing a website in order to gain traffic from organic search results. On the contrary, the objective of SEM is to get traffic as well as visibility from paid search and both organic.


The search results of Google are divided into two main categories: the organic search results and the paid search results. The primary objective of SEO is to rank the website in organic search results. Through pay per click (PPC) or paid ads, you can even get paid areas of the search results on your website.


Search Engine Marketing (SEO) is where the focus is 100% on ranking in the organic results. Search Engine Marketing (SEM), on the other hand, is when one taps into both PPC (Pay Per Click) and SEO in order to get traffic from search engines. So yes, SEM is a broader term including both SEO and PPC. Hence, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) falls “under” the category of Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Now that you know the basic difference between SEO and SEM, let us get into some of the main differences between SEO and SEM.

SEM: What It Is And How It Works?

seo vs sem

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a descriptor that includes a variety of paid search advertising. This is the type of search engine that you see as Google ads and end up on the top of a page list. Generally, it has to do with keyword placement and usage. However, you must require some data, research and strategy to do well in this and boost your business.

SEO: What It Is And How It Works?

seo vs sem

SEO is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy and some knowledge is essential. It does not matter which area of digital marketing you specialize in. According to Internet live stats, there are more than 66,000 searches per second on Google per day. That is a lot of activity for any business to compete with. Hence, SEO is such an important area of digital marketing to know.

SEO vs SEM: Main Features

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Overview

seo vs sem

The practice of continuously optimizing a website in order to get ranked in the non-paid, organic search engine results pages (SERPs).

Google uses over 200+ ranking signals in its algorithm. Having said that, SEO can be divided into four major sub-categories: technical SEO, off-page SEO, on-page SEO, and User Interaction Signals.

On-page SEO

On-Page SEO is where you optimize the website around keywords that your target customer searches for in various search engines like, Google, Bing, etc. For example, one best practice of on-page SEO is including the main keyword in your webpage URL, meta description, and title tag.

Off-page SEO

Getting authority signals and trust from other websites is the basic purpose of off-page SEO. This involves mainly building high-quality backlinks to the site. But Google may use other off-page signals too, in order to size up the site’s authority, like social media sharing and E-A-T.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO helps you to make sure that Google and other search engines can index and crawl all of the pages on the website. Technical SEO includes things like making sure the pages load quickly too. And that the site architecture is set up correctly.

User Interaction Signals

Google helps to figure out if a page is a good match for someone’s search on the basis of user interaction with the site. For example, if the page has a high bounce rate, could be a sign that the page is not giving users the answers to their queries. And Google can drop your rankings down a little bit if it considers the page a bad fit for a particular keyword. Or completely off of the first page altogether.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Overview

seo vs sem

SEM is the high-level term that includes SEO. So everything that has just been outlined above for SEO applies to SEM too. However, in addition to SEO, SEM includes PPC too. PPC is a field that consists of its own set of best practices, features, and more. You must keep the budget in mind in every post that you make.


Whether you use Bing Ads or Google Ads, paid ads in search engines are all about bidding. With PPC, you bid on specific keywords. And when someone searches for that keyword, your ad will show up. The rankings of the ads are generally in proportion to how much someone is bidding. So if you are the highest bidder, you will appear above all of the other ads.

You pay whatever amount that you bid when a user clicks on your ad. This amount that you pay when a user clicks on your ad is known as CPC or cost per click.

Quality Score In SEO And SEM

seo vs sem

Google Ads metric quality Score is really important. It is basically the way Google figures out if your ad is a worthy match for whatever someone’s searching for.

Based on a combination of click-through rate, quality of your landing page and Google account’s overall quality score Google calculates the quality score. And if the ad has a good Quality Score, you are likely to get a discount on each click.

Ad Copy In Search Engines

Writing a compelling ad copy is an important part of doing well with Pay Per Click (PPC). This is because a good ad copy means a higher CTR. And a good Quality Score is determined by your CTR. Therefore, this means that you have to pay less for the same click.

The opposite can also happen. If your copy fails to push enough people to click, your Quality Score will ultimately suffer. And your PPCs will start to get pretty expensive.

How Long It Takes to See Results: SEO vs. SEM


One major difference between SEO and SEM is speed. It is a fact that SEO takes time. Quite a lot of time. Especially if the site is new and does not have a lot of backlinks yet. In fact, according to an analysis by Ahrefs it has been found that it takes almost 2 years to rank on the first page of Google. And most of the top-ranking pages were first published 3+ years ago.

That does not mean it is necessary you expect it to take 2 years to rank in Google. If your target is long-tail keywords and implementing SEO best practices. In that case, you can even start seeing enough traffic on your website and some results within a few months. A good amount of hard work and a focus on SEO can help you to get some organic traffic within a few months.

Gaining Traffic Through PPC

Some say it takes years for rankings and organic traffic to get high. However, if your focus is on SEM efforts in PPC, you can start seeing results pretty much instantly. You may run some ads in the morning, and start getting conversions and traffic by the afternoon.

But that does not mean that you will get an ROI on the first day. In several cases, it can take over months of tweaking and testing to get a positive ROI from PPC. Even in that case, there is no question that PPC works much more quickly than SEO.

How Much They Cost: SEO And SEM

The reason a lot of people get drawn towards SEO is that it’s “free website traffic”. And it is true that you don’t pay when a user clicks on your site in the organic search results. But do not get mistaken, as SEO is not free. It is not even close. For example, let us take a quick look at any of the pages that are currently ranked #1 in Google for “on-page SEO”.

#1 is a pretty great place to be. The website is getting traffic from that keyword every day. And for that traffic to come in, one needs to do or even pay anything. But it takes a lot of money, effort, and time to get that #1 ranking.

Key To Get Higher Ranking: SEO And SEM


At a higher level, you need to build up Backlinko’s Domain Authority by continuously putting up world-class content. This also means promoting the content with email outreach. You also need to buy some SEO tools, that shall help you in writing content, getting relevant keywords, and using quotations.

At the same time, you are required to create strategies and write articles keeping in mind the SEO rules. You must invest enough time in writing the post, and create a strategy for your entire process. You can even hire a graphic designer to take all the screenshots. You may also work with an illustrator to make good quotations, and create custom illustrations.

Strategies For Higher Visibility Of Websites

Strategies For Higher Visibility Of Websites

There are some strategies that may work to increase the rankings of your website:

  • A developer that can code and deploy the actual page
  • Contrast your strategy with an SEM approach which means 100% PPC

In that case, you may be spending cash up-front. But at least you are aware that you are going to get some results from that effort. You may even set the account to automatic bidding so that it appears in a certain position.

Issues With Paid Search

The biggest issue with paid search is that, as soon as you stop paying, the traffic goes to zero. On the other hand in SEO, once you rank, you are almost set. Your investment is up-front. Once you actually rank, you need not invest much money into maintaining the current rankings.

So yes, when it comes to cost, SEO and PPC have certain pros and cons. This is why a business may use a marketing strategy including a mix of SEO and PPC.

How SEO And SEM Complement Each Other?

How SEO And SEM Complement Each Other

Both SEO and SEM rely heavily on keywords in order to drive traffic to web pages and business websites. Although the marketing techniques used for SEO and SEM are different, they both focus on the flow of traffic and their relation to marketing activities. Users will use search engines to search for something that they are looking for, and they will be able to find it by the paid results (SEM) or the organic results (SEO).

Before buying anything most of the users search it online, therefore, having a strong presence in search is crucial. At the same time, using a combination of key rules and data can boost your visibility in the long term.

Purpose Of Quotation Marks In Search Engines

Use Of Quotation Marks

Quotation marks basically give a signal to Google that the user is looking for the exact match. Searching within quotation marks helps you to find results that include all the words in a specific order. Searching without quotation marks may populate the results, as they may not be in order.

How To Use Quotation Marks?

Quotation marks in search engines chuck out unnecessary results. If quotation marks are used correctly, they can help in finding what you are looking for.

Using quotes around some specific words in your search is comparatively easier to understand. But you are not required to do it all the time. In fact, there are times when you do not need to use quotation marks at all.

What Is Better: Quotes Or No Quotes?

Before we get into the specifics of quotation marks and their relevance in search results, let’s look at what happens if you don’t use them:

Searching for content without quotation marks means that you are searching for a result related to those specific words. For example, if you search for ‘Nobel prize winner 1987’, you are telling the search engine to look for content related to those words. But not exactly those words. However, when you write with double quotation marks “Nobel prize winners 1987″, search engines ensure that these three words are present in exactly the same order in the result.

Quotation Marks: An Effective Strategy For Search Engine Marketing(SEM)

If you use single quotation marks like, ‘best, ads, articles & brand’, the result may appear with content related to these words in any combination. But when you use double quotes like, “best articles on ads and brand”, the result that will appear will have words in the exact same order. These are the main differences between single quotation marks and double quotations.

FAQs: Related To SEO And SEM

1. What are the differences between the SEO and SEM process?

The main difference is SEO is an organic strategy and SEM is paid strategy. SEM can be called an umbrella term for paid and organic strategies.

2. What is the use of quotes and punctuation?

Quotes help you to get the exact result that you are looking for. The use of punctuation can help in the Google search process in getting on-point content.

3. Is SEO free?

SEO is called organic strategy and hence is free. There are various free tools available that can help you boost your business. However, for SEM you do need to pay and require a budget.

4. Why are quotes sometimes used?

Punctuation is used sometimes to get the exact search result. Therefore, marketers do use them in the post too for accurate results.

5. Is paid search SEO or SEM?

SEM is a paid strategy while SEO is an organic strategy. The marketers may use any one of these depending on their budget.

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