Inicio » Trends » What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

What is the difference between SEO and SEM?


SEO and SEM are essential tools to create digital marketing strategies and although there can be confusion in their meanings, there are significant differences between them.

Both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are key strategies in search engine marketing. Both concepts are used to improve the online positioning of a brand or website and can complement each other.

However, acronyms often cause confusion. What does each one mean and what is it for?

What is SEO?

Previously we delved into what SEO is, how it works, where it comes from and how it can be applied to improve the performance of a website. Technically, SEO means Search Engine Optimization or positioning a site in an organic way.

Its job is optimizing and increasing the popularity of a website, with the goal of making the site trackable by different browsers. By implementing certain characteristics on the website and indexing correctly each page, the site becomes relevant and has an increasingly better position in browsers for certain searches.

What is SEM?

On the other hand, we have SEM or Search Engine Marketing. In general terms, SEM encompasses all the techniques used to improve the positioning of a site.

In other words, it refers to techniques that improve the positioning of a website through paid ads that appear in browsers or social networks for certain keywords.

What are their differences?

Both SEO and SEM seek to position a website within search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and others. Not only its acronyms but its functions may be similar and cause for confusion. However, there are characteristics that differentiate them from each other:

  • The type of investment required. Although it is often said that using SEO is free, it is probable that starting will require not only time and effort but an initial investment. But, you don’t necessarily need a fixed budget. For SEM, however, it is necessary to pay for each click that occurs in the ads.
  • The content. SEO is based on creating quality and relevant content to increase views. By contrast, SEM has ads that have little text and a well-designed landing page.
  • While SEM seeks short-term results, SEO focuses on achieving medium or long-term goals.

Both concepts have different purposes, but can be used in a complementary way. You can do research prior to creating content to find out which are the most relevant and searched keywords.

Subsequently, a SEM campaign can be launched to attract more visits and then attract them with the content. The last action can benefit from knowing the most used keywords and apply them in order to take advantage of them.