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SEO vs. SEM: What’s the Difference?

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

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Search marketing is one of the most necessary forms of marketing your business in today’s digital age. Search marketing refers to any tool or tactic that can help get your business noticed on the search engine results pages (SERPs), either by paid advertising or by ranking your pages amongst the top results.

Search marketing is divided into two major categories, SEO and SEM. Search engine optimization (SEO) uses organic strategies to gain visibility on SERPs. Search engine marketing (SEM) uses paid strategies to drive more traffic to your website. These tactics may seem similar, but they are two very different approaches to increasing search visibility.

What is SEO?

SEO marketing utilizes organic tactics to gain more visibility on SERPs and drive more traffic to your site naturally, without paid advertising. When businesses decide to use SEO strategies, they may pay third parties for strategic tactics but not for placement on the SERPs. There are many ways to enhance your business’s SEO presence, but using a combination of tactics will prove to be the most effective.

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On-page SEO

On-Page SEO

When you optimize your business’s website and make it SEO-rich, that is on-page SEO. This includes publishing new blogs, updating title tags, and ensuring that each page is relevant to its intent and main topic. You have control over your on-page SEO, and it’s essential to ensure that you stay up to date with your content since Google’s algorithms are constantly changing.

A magnifying glass looking at a computer screen amplifying off-page SEO factors
Off-page SEO

Off-Page SEO