SEM and SEO – What You Really Need to Know to Take Your Business to the Next Level

If you are into content marketing business, you must have heard the words SEM and SEO around you. You might have been into conversations with your colleagues, whereby, these words may have casually sprinkled and freaked out at the thought that someone might be asking you talk about it too! Well, SEM and SEO are two very commonly used marketing terms, but do you really know what the words actually mean?

SEO and SEM do not have the same meaning!

The purpose of SEO and SEM is to increase the visibility of a website, but you cannot use these two words interchangeably. Speaking of the main differences between them, SEM is all about paid search tactics, whereas, SEO makes use of organic techniques to shape credibility for the search engines. Does that make sense? No? Let’s dive into the topic to clarify you regarding SEM and SEO.

So, what is SEO?           SEO, SEM, Intelligent SEO, Digital Marketing

The full form of SEO is Search Engine Optimization. It’s a process that makes use of different types of techniques to make a webpage appear in a higher rank in search results. The good thing about rising your search ranking will also raise the traffic to your website.

Basically, we can conclude that good SEO is equaled to more visitors equals to more customers and thus, more sales!

Bear that in mind that Google is always changing their algorithm. As a business, it is your duty to keep up with the top search engines trends. SEO is all about patience. It is a constant process that progresses with time.

And what’s SEM?

SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing. The purpose of this is to bring in appropriate traffic from the search engines through sponsored ad listings. More often than not, SEM is about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising slash marketing. There are a lot of PPC platforms in search engines and social media, however, Google Adwords beats them all by becoming the most popular and successful platform. The purpose of SEM is to help online advertisers to gain more popularity in the search engines and push the right traffic without having to delay. Remember, if you want to be successful with SEM, it is important to have a strong and dynamic SEM strategy that would get the optimal return on your investment.

The Big Question; Where to Start?

Your expert marketer friend might have told you that SEO is the best and that’s the way to go because of the higher quality leads that it offers at a cheaper rate compared to SEM. It is not so simple! Your friend may have been talking about a business that is different and has its own unique needs. Your friend might have been talking about his startup, which is still a small business and may not have much of a big advertising budget. Plus, the business might also be lacking the proper resources needed for doing successful SEO.

It’s best for you to gain clarity as per your business requirements. Get a clarification as to what you should choose for your business and why. Build a strong online marketing strategy that is suitable for your business. Once you have the right marketing strategy, you can proceed with gathering the right information. You’ll know what your target audience is looking for and which is the best way you can reach them. Don’t worry if your business is still small and new. What matters is the type of audience you are about to reach and how you actually reach them.

Read ahead to know about the advantages and disadvantages of both SEM and SEO that will give you a better idea of what to expect from these two and channel that is meant for your business. 

Why Use SEO?

You may have come across a lot of online marketers who swore that SEO is the most effective. Since Google has upped their game, things are no longer so easy. Nowadays, it’s more about the kind of quality and the quantity of value that you’re capable of delivering.

Improve your website for search engines and get organic traffic instead. Here’s how:

  • More Branding: While your competitor brands are up to making commercial search terms, you can look for topics related to your niche. Making the topics more relatable to the potential customers. When they will find out that your content is much stronger, it will have an indirect positive effect on your branding. Google itself is used by numerous internet users as a tool for research that helps them make better purchasing decisions. No matter which market you are in, creating useful content will help you build a better brand.


  • More Trust and Credibility: Google will never let you down. They always work hard to bring you only the best websites on the first page. Google is undeniably highly reliable in terms of service. When you click on the first page, you are automatically transmitting credibility and trust points from search users. Admit it that most of the time you would be ignoring sponsored ads and be looking for organic search listings. If your business also includes more organic search listings, it makes it easier for you to stand against the paid and sponsored ads. Just another additional tip; if you are running a business that is very much dependent on reviews, try to be visible in Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). The bunch of positive reviews will enormously help your business gain credibility.


  • Lower Costs: As a business, these are the best words you can always want to come across. Plus, another thing you would willingly want to come across is having to invest very less but getting greater results. Yes, that’s what SEO is all about! Of course, there are costs involved when running a successful SEO campaign, but comparatively, they are much lower. If you’re already wondering how is that possible, it’s because the height of brand awareness that you are to create with SEO and the traffic that you can pull off will cost you with other marketing methods. Although SEO is not at all cheap, it’s reliable and most importantly justifies the costs. With SEO, it’s always a win-win!

What happens if you prefer to use SEM?

Most content marketers literally believe in SEM (or PPC). But before you rush into implementing SEM, look at these reasons and verify whether your business is suitable for SEM.

  • Better Control: With the use of SEM, there is no way you are limited in any way because SEM is more result driven and you have total control over your sponsored listings or PPC. Test and tweak every detail of your ad and you can improve the performance of the campaign in general if you feel it’s necessary to. Unlike SEO, SEM content can be more promotional and persuasive. To get the highest click-through rate, you are free to customize each and every element of your ad.


  • Get More Views: When you are doing SEO, chances are that the right people might not be visiting your website. SEM confirms that your ads are laser targeted towards the audience who are really looking for your product or service. And that makes you get more views, boosting your brand’s visibility. Don’t expect people to immediately click on your ads, but eventually, they will search for your product when they are in need. Therefore, in every way, paid ads are what taking your business places by filtering out people who are not a part of your campaign and getting potential target audience.


  • Keep your Budget Under Control: While SEO might be needing the least costs associated with online marketing, SEM or PPC is a bit different than that. Since you are investing money in SEM, you are able to control each and every cent at every step. This helps you save money in the long run. Using SEM, you are able to control your daily budget, whereby, you can start off with a very small amount. When you figure out which tactic is giving you the best return on your investment, ramp up your budget and make the most out it without having to worry about incurring losses.


Additional Tips for SEO and SEM;

The Dos of SEO:

  • Emphasize on creating high-quality and well-written content that is engaging
  • Study the right keywords and incorporate them appropriately
  • Include photos, videos and GIFs, which are thought to make content interactive. Ensure that the photos are resized to enhance the page’s loading time
  • Insert third-party links that are credible sources

The Don’ts of SEO

  • Don’t stuff your content with keywords
  • Don’t pay for links as they do not add any value to your content
  • Avoid repeating the same title and meta descriptions for different articles. Always come up with something new!

The Dos of SEM:

  • Make use of the SEM tools at its best
  • See what your top competitors are up to
  • Continuously keep researching your audience
  • Share your own content
  • Keep an eye on the details to find out what ad copy is the most effective

The Don’ts of SEM

  • Don’t overlook the power of ad extensions because it makes it easier for customers to interact with your website
  • Don’t just focus on one group of people. As an alternative, write different content for diversified demographics
  • Try not to use too much punctuation marks. If you think to add extra exclamation marks or capitalizing every other word would emphasize your point, it’s not right. In fact, it comes off as irritating.

What Do I Exactly Need to Know?

We’re absolutely sure that you now know the complete difference between SEO and SEM. Make use of these terms correctly and wisely. You may initiate a conversation about this topic at your dinner table. Okay, maybe not that far, but at least don’t be confused. Figure out how you can implement SEO and SEM strategies to improve your site.

If you already have a website and are puzzled about what to do next, we would suggest, start adding new content that combines keywords well, links and calls to action. And if you’re yet to start, you already have the guidelines to start constructing the most successful one so far.


SEO vs. SEM: What You Need to Know, Express Writers

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): What It Is & How to Do It Right, Word Stream


The Flint Tech Solutions digital marketing team is expanding, and ready to help you move to the next level of success, Marketing, branding, social media management, content creation, and copywriting are the things we’re known for, and if you ask us about Intelligent SEO, you’re going to hear something that might surprise you. Hit us up at, or use the chat over there on the right!

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    Free Quote

    "At Flint Tech Solutions, we use technology as the integrator to solve business problems. Our dedicated team delivers value and efficiency while maintaining the highest level of customer service and support."

    Free Project Quote

    Fill out the enquiry form and we`ll get back to you as soon as possible.


      Email Us:
      Phone: 724-307-8310