What is the Difference Between SEO and SEM?

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What is the Difference 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 that SEO is part of SEM. Both processes aim to increase visibility on search engines.

SEO is about optimizing your website for higher rankings on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) organically, while SEM involves other methods that allow you to get traffic on search engines, for example, the PPC advertising method.

Search Engine Optimization

To do a comparison between SEO and SEM, you need to know the definition of SEO, so that you can see a clear difference between the two.

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to get free traffic from search engines.

SEO is important because an optimized website will be easier for search engines like Google to understand, and will allow you to rank higher on the SERP.

What Are the Main Components of SEO?

SEO has three main pillars: technical SEO, on-site SEO, and off-site SEO.

  • Technical SEO: Refers to the process of optimizing your website. With technical SEO, you can ensure that search engines can crawl and index your website without any problems.
  • On-Site SEO: Rules that can be applied to individual pages and content based on specific keyword optimization. For example, you should have a title that contains keywords, a compelling meta description, a well-formatted URL, alt text in images, and much more.
  • Off-Site SEO: Refers to the process of getting references (backlinks) from other websites to increase the credibility of your website in the eyes of search engines. Websites that have lots of backlinks tend to rank better. However, this is also not only about the quantity, but the quality of the backlinks (if the website provides backlinks has a good reputation and credibility in the eyes of search engines, the better the results will be for your website).
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Search Engine Marketing

SEM is a marketing method within the scope of digital marketing that aims to increase visibility on search engines, both by getting organic traffic through SEO, and paid traffic through Pay per Click (PPC) advertising.

Through paid search advertising, you are buying ad space on the SERPs. So, here you pay to appear at the very top.


The most well-known paid advertising service provider for PPC is Google Ads (officially called Google Adwords). Through Google Ads, you can make your ad appear and occupy the top SERP position, and you only have to pay when someone clicks on the ad. This is the reason why the ad is called PPC.

Which is Better, SEO or SEM?

Although SEO is a component of SEM, many marketers consider SEM to be limited to paid search advertising. In that case, if you also think so, you can make a comparison between the two.


Organic SEO is generally the best marketing strategy for long term results. Websites that rank high in organic search results for the keywords they target, can get free traffic 24/7, and enjoy all the benefits of SEO.

Websites that use PPC can still get traffic from search engines, but they have to pay for it. Once they stop payments, the traffic disappears.

Another major difference is that SEO takes a lot of time to show results, while PPC is almost instantaneous.

So which one is better depends on your overall marketing goals. If you want to get traffic fast, then you can start with SEM (paid search advertising). If you want to create a long-term oriented business without depending on paid traffic, then SEO is the answer.

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Thus the discussion about the differences between SEO and SEM that you need to know. For your business to grow, don’t forget to advertise through the Froggy Ads service, you can start by advertising your products so that later you can increase visitors on your online business portal. Froggy Ads is an online advertising service that can help you control all your product campaigns. helps you target your desired marketing target and gives you many options to market your product.