June 26, 2024

What is SEM? – SEO Vs. SEM

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. SEM term is mainly used for running paid ads on search engines like Google & Bing.

Originally, SEM was used for Search Engine Optimization and PPC ads combined. Now SEM is used for paid traffic and SEO is used for organic traffic.

What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

As I mentioned, SEM is a term used for paid ads in search engines. This includes Google Ads and Bing Ads.

While SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is mainly used for organic traffic. SEO provides free traffic in the long term while SEM can deliver instant results and start showing your ads in a few hours.

SEM is Expensive:

SEM is expensive while SEO is cheaper in long run. You can get unlimited traffic using SEO while, you will have to pay for every click, every visitor using Ads.

For example:

If you are running ads to generate leads for your coaching class business, you may keep getting enquiries till you run your ads.

Your ads will stop running and traffic on your website will fall as soon as you stop running ads or you pause your ad campaigns.

Also, you will have to pay for every click.

While in SEO, once your website or blog starts ranking on the first page of Google, you will start getting consistent traffic for free. You don’t need to pay for visitors or ranking and you can convert traffic on your blog or website into leads or customers.

SEO is best for Blogs & TOFU keywords

SEO is good for blogs, news websites and for “top of the funnel” keywords and SEM is best for transactional keywords and keywords with buying intent.

If you have a health and fitness blog, you can use SEO to drive traffic on your website or blog for keywords like Health tips, fitness tips, diet plans etc.

Running ads for such high volume keywords can be very expensive.


Using SEO and SEM together is a smart strategy.  Run paid ads for keywords with high traffic, buying intent and difficult to rank in organic search ranking using SEO. As a best practice, you should also target high volume & TOFU keywords and keywords with low buying intent using SEO to rank your website in organic results to drive free traffic.

To know more about Google Ads, SEO and SEM you can join our digital marketing courses.