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Difference Between SEO and SEM

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SEO is the act of improving the visibility of a website’s outcomes on specific search engines through unpaid forms of online advertising. It is used to increase traffic to a website by improving its rank on the search engine pages. 

SEM is the act of improving the visibility of a website outcomes on specific search engines through paid advertisements. It includes Search Engine Optimization, contextual advertising, AdSense, social networking, pay-per-click (PPC), AdWords, and so on. 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing.
It is a part of SEM.It is used for traffic generation and is a superset of SEO.
Results will take time to appear.Immediate result.
Suitable for low-budget companies.Suitable for big-budget companies.
 The Click-Through Rate (CTR) of SEO is higher than SEM.The Click-Through Rate (CTR) of SEM is lower than SEO.
Traffic potential is unlimited.Traffic potential is limited depending on the budget.
It is inexpensive.It is expensive.
Long-term benefits.Short-term benefits.
 SEO improves the visibility of the website.SEM improves the sales of a small business.
Competition is lesser due to the requirement for organic content.Competition is higher in the targeted areas.
The SEO search result doesn’t target any audience.SEM search result targets the selected audience.
Example: Backlinks creationExample: Google Ads

Interesting Facts:

  • Only 30% of new businesses state they use SEO for marketing. A simple 12% use PPC promotions(TNW News).
  • 47% of digital marketers state SEO is one of their best strategies but 39% also recognize it as one of the most difficult.(TNW News)
Last Updated : 19 Sep, 2023
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