Digital Upward

Fight Between SEO and SEM Which is Better

Friday September 20, 2019

A business’s success depends upon its budget as well as its marketing tactics such as search engine optimization and search engine marketing. This is because marketing tactics help the business to drive traffic. Both of these marketing tactics are two sides of the same coin. They compliment brilliantly to each other. However, they, consist of different actions and relate to different aspects of marketing. Sometimes the terms are used to refer a similar set of activity which becomes confusing for those who don’t understand this word.

Unaware of the terms? Before deciding which marketing tactic is better, let’s understand the meaning of the two terms.


Search engine optimization is a process of optimizing the business’s website for getting free traffic from search engines. It focuses on the website’s code through the use of ALT tags, page and links titles. Search engine crawlers easily understand an optimized website. This further increases the chances of ranking higher in SERPs. Its goal is to attract the users organically. It is made up of On-Page and Off-Page activities.

On-site SEO is the rules which a business can apply on the website or blog to make it search engine friendly. It includes cleaning and formatting pages URLs, incorporating selective keywords naturally into title tags, meta description, heading tags.

Off-site SEO is the process of getting votes from other websites for the purpose of increasing the website’s trust in the eyes of search engines. It includes social sharing, social bookmarking, creating a high quality, natural backlink profile.


Search engine marketing is an umbrella under which all the digital marketing tactics fall, whether it is paid or free. It is a marketing process that aims at getting more visibility in search engines by either getting more traffic or paid traffic. Internet marketing also involves the promotion of websites through optimization and advertising. Search Engine Optimization includes tactics and several other search marketing tactics such as pay per click listings and advertisers engine marketings. Paid search advertising leads to the business buying advertising space in the search engine results. Thus instead of trying to rank higher and getting free traffic, the business pays to appear in front of the search engines.

SEM-based advertising activities include:

  • Targeted (paid) ad campaigns
  • Writing copy by using selective keywords
  • To ensure that all the advertising activities fall within an allotted budget
  • Application of key performance indicators such as click-through rates (CTR) and cost per click (CPC) towards future advertising activities


The main difference between search engine optimization and search engine marketing is that Search engine optimization is a component of search engine marketing. Search engine optimization is free as compared to Search Engine Marketing that is paid. The success of SEO depends on the quality content, usage of backlinks. On the other hand, the success of SEM depends upon the amount of bidding.


A business’s overall marketing strategy depends upon its choice between organic search engine optimization and search engine marketing. As a rule of thumb, a business can expect quicker results with search engine marketing and it should start from search engine marketing. The following points would help the business to decide the appropriate marketing strategy :


Search Engine Optimization takes a longer time to show results as compared to search engine marketing which generates traffic instantly. However in the long term when the business establishes search credibility and maintains it with quality content and social media usage, organic search engine optimization becomes less costly.


A pay per click campaign takes less time than search engine optimization to show results. Thus if a business wants immediate visibility when it first launches its website, preferring search engine marketing is a better option.


Search Engine Optimization through well-optimized content which the prospects and customers find helpful lays the foundation for search engine marketing. A business has a better chance of getting high-quality traffic and for improving conversion rates when it has a proper set up of search engine optimization and search engine marketing. A business further has more chances of showing up at the top of paid searches once it has a search engine optimization friendly site and sponsored Ads that are properly targeted by using the right keywords.


Using paid Ads in search engine marketing helps the business to understand the return on investment in a direct way. A business is able to monitor traffic and then create campaigns based on this information.


Search Engine Optimization does not give the business a guarantee of receiving traffic on autopilot for a long time. It, however, gives the business peace of mind. A business can keep on doing the needed on-page search engine optimization to maintain its rank for a particular keyword. search engine optimization helps to dominate a market segment without burning a hole in the wallet by being more sustainable.


Investing money into search engine marketing results in the business controlling its budget at every step. This is because pay per click gives the business an ability to decide its daily budget depending upon how much it’s willing to spend. Strong control over budget results in the business saving money in the long run.


Pay per click is much cheaper than an organic search that is search engine optimization for conquering competitive keywords.


Search Engine Optimization increases the number of visitors on the website by getting the site to appear high on the results returned by a search engine. search engine marketing, on the other hand, increases the visibility of the site through organic search engine results and advertising. search engine optimization, as well as other marketing tactics, is a component of the larger category that is search engine marketing. search engine optimization is about optimizing the business’s website whereas search engine marketing goes beyond search engine optimization. Thus choosing the best marketing tactic involves the evaluation of specific needs. If a business’s website is on the newer site, it should prioritize its pay per click campaign as it takes time for search engine optimization rankings to become established. Thus from a long-term perspective, SEO is a cheaper way to get a business’s website on top of SERPs.

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