SEO vs SEM: Which do I use?

Online marketing is gradually becoming the most efficient and effective way to advertise/market products, services, and brands. Think about it? We spend almost of our waking hours on our phones and computers.

You’d probably see an online ad before you notice a billboard erected in your bedroom.
Just as Advertising and Marketing are two words that many use interchangeably and don’t really understand, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search engine Marketing) are two abbreviations that are used in each other’s stead but without a really clear understanding of what they mean.


Today we will delve into Internet marketing and understand these two acronyms.
SEO and SEM initially were confused as the same thing and were thus used in marketing circles as one and the same. SEM was said to be an umbrella that SEO fell under. However, Marketing has evolved and its terms have become clearer, there is now a clear distinction between both terms.

What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

SEO, an acronym for Search Engine Optimization refers to the process of optimizing/maximizing traffic (visitors) to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results on the search engine. It getting visitors from the free, organic, editorial and natural search results.

SEM, an acronym for Search Engine Marketing refers to the process of increasing the visibility of a website to get more traffic and visitors through paid advertising.

In other words, SEO and SEM are both ways of getting more people to visit your website by making sure the site is high up there in the search results, but SEO is free, SEM isn’t, that’s the main difference.
There may be numerous sites with the similar name and keywords as yours (imagine how many sites with entrepreneur and business keywords), SEO rankings are what determine which sites are on page 1 or page 44.

is SEM better than SEO?

Which is the better, SEO and SEM?

SEO and SEM are equally very useful to a business owner, blogger, web content creator etc. The choice of which to use depends on you strictly, how much you are willing to invest, how much content you have, how long you have been in business.

SEO works off the visitors want to return to your site and their satisfaction. The more visitors you get to your site, the higher your SEO ranking. Using SEO is also less costly than SEM.

However, for a new website with no already established name or search credibility, SEO may not really work for you, especially if you want visitors very quickly. SEO requires a little patience, quality content, good appearance and social media usage. SEM, however, will get you visitors very quickly, even without all these things (quality content, good appearance, and social media usage). Your SEM rank may reduce, however, if you lack all of these and SEM without SEO in the long-run won’t pay off.

So my advice to you, If you are a new website owner and needs visitors very quick, use SEM but also build quality content that keeps the readers coming back for more, make your website look good (with beautiful themes and non-bulky content) and ensure your name is easy to remember, so they keep coming back. In the long-run, you’d want to have a strong SEO ranking rather than paying for SEM.