Home » Blog » SEO VS SEM: A Common Misconception That They Are Twins

SEO VS SEM: A Common Misconception That They Are Twins

The phrases search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are often used interchangeably in the world of digital marketing. From newbies to veterans, there is a misconception among the people that SEO and SEM are akin which makes matters even worse. To clear up this misconception, this blog post has been written and published.


It comes with no surprise that search engine optimization (SEO) is a part of search engine marketing (SEM) but still both are different from each other. How? Let’s start explaining with SEO first.

What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of optimizing the website so that it can rank better in search engine result pages (SERPs). Various tactics and strategies are used by well-experienced professionals so that your website can get free traffic from the search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing & more and rank at the top. Although, it’s a complex process if it’s done keeping all the guidelines, rules and algorithms in mind, soon it yields fruitful results.

Benefits of SEO


The biggest advantage of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that it’s not at all inexpensive. You can start with any budget and get your website SEO optimized.   For instance, if you have a good budget, you can outsource your SEO work to a professional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company in Noida. However, if you are on a tight budget, you can hire some freelancers.

Components of SEO

On-site SEO and off-site SEO are the two main pillars of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). On-site SEO refers to the rules which you can apply on your blog or website to make it search engine friendly.


On-site SEO Includes:

  • Incorporating targeted keywords into title tags, meta descriptions, alt text, heading tags etc.
  • Clean and formatting page URLs.
  • Optimized page load speed.
  • Social sharing buttons embedded within your content.
  • Blog post & page copy that is written and optimized with quality.
  • And many other related things.

Coming to off-site SEO, it refers to the process of link building. In this, you need to create your website link on the third party website. By getting clicks from the other websites (third party), your website trust increases in the eyes of search engines which in turn improve your search engine ranking. The more you get clicks from third party websites, the better your rank will be in search engine result pages (SERPs).


Off-site SEO Includes:

  • Creating high quality, natural backlink.
  • Social bookmarking (Stumbleupon, Reddit).
  • And other related things.

When You Should Use SEO?

  • For less competitive keywords.
  • When your budget is tight.


What Is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a type of internet marketing in which search engine optimization (SEO) and other paid search marketing tactics are used together to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPS). In other words, it’s a combination of unpaid and paid strategies meant to improve website rank in search queries.

Components of Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Other than SEO, search engine marketing (SEM) also includes the use of paid strategies such as PPC (pay-per-click) or CPC (cost-per-click). Usually, SEM includes PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns with a minor emphasis on SEO, but if paid search and SEO use together, it falls under search engine marketing (SEM) activity.


When You Should Use SEM?

  • For highly competitive keywords.
  • When you want a bulk of traffic in less span of time.


Which Marketing Strategy Is More Better?


Undoubtedly, this is one of the most debated topics over the web. Both SEO and SEM processes are meant to increase visibility in search engine result pages. But, which market strategy is better than others?

When it comes to deciding the best marketing strategy, you need to figure out your specific needs. For example, if you are launching a new website and want immediate visibility on the search engines, PPC makes more sense than SEO because it takes less time to spread brand awareness but it would be unfair if you ignore the SEO.

Although, search engine optimization (SEO) takes time to show positive results but eventually it will help you to build search credibility which is not possible with paid advertising such as PPC (pay-per-click) or CPC (cost-per-click).



Atul Kumar

Atul Kumar is a Digital Marketing Manager at Impressico Digital with over a decade of experience, making him the go-to expert for SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing, and Content Marketing. With a deep understanding and expertise, Atul has helped numerous businesses improve their digital presence and strategies to maximize ROI.

Scroll to Top