What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

Before directly knowing the difference between SEO and SEM first let us know the general definition of SEO and SEM.

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of optimizing a web page(according to the Google guidelines and regular updates on the algorithms) to rank on the first page of Google. According to the traffic referral data, more than 68% of the users in India depends on Google. Typically, users will prefer to read only the first 3-4 results on Google as they are redefined results which are authentic & relevant to them. For a new website to rank, SEO is a long term process.

What are the most important parameters to rank a website on the first page?

1. Fresh and strong content
2. Relevant and quality backlinks
3. Mobile-friendly site
4. Site quick loading on a mobile device
5. No keyword stuffing
6. Perfect on-page optimization
7. No technical issues found

What is SEM?

Marketing your products or services online with the help of the internet to target or reach the right customer and to convert them in buying behavior. We can customize the ad i.e we can select the right audience (who are interested in), demographics (age groups), locations (country/ state wise/ city wise), scheduling( particular day & hour), device (mobile, desktop & tablet) and selecting the right keywords and channel is known as SEM.

Why move digitally?

1. According to GSMA real-time intelligence data, every year the mobile users are drastically increasing and the smartphone penetration 28.50%.
2. According to newly released Kantar IMRB ICUBE report the internet users base in India has exceeded 500 million mark and it’s likely to reach 627 million by the end of 2019.

What are the most important parameters to rank an ad on the first page?

1. Quality score
2. Ad relevance
3. Landing page experience
4. Site speed
5. Budget

14 Key Differences between SEO and SEM

S.No                Parameters                       SEO             SEM
1Basic RequirementWebsiteLanding Page
2TypesGeneral SEO and Technical SEOSearch Ads, Display Ads (Standard and Email ads), Shopping Ads, Video Ads, App Promotion and Search Network with Display Select.
3Results on the first page of Google.Long Term Process

Short term process


4Bidding                 –Various Bidding Strategies.
5Cost Inquired                 –Completely paid based upon the cost per click.
6Type of trafficFree/ Organic/NaturalPaid traffic
7Also Known asOrganic resultsPPC
8Important factors to rank on the first pageBacklinks, strong content, loading speed, Rank brainQuality score (ad group, keywords, Ad relevance, and landing page experience.)
9KingContentAd Relevance
10Useful Chrome ExtensionsMoz, Similar Web, Built with, SEO meta in one click, Broken link checker, Light House, Page speed Insights, Woorank etc.Google Tag Assistant
11Tools to analyze website backlinks (free or paid)Ubersuggest (Neil Patel), Ahref, Semrush._
12Google free toolsGMB, GKWP, GA, GSC, Think with Google, Mobile friendly Test, GTMGoogle Ads
13Other Keyword planner toolsKeywords everywhere, Kewordtool.io, KWfinder, Answer the public, MOZ’s Keyword Explorer.Google Keyword Planner
14To know the competitor AdsSpyFu, Wordtracker, Semrush, Ahref, Whatrunswhere, Buzzsumo.

Similarities of SEO and SEM

S.NoParameters SEOSEM
3Conversions are monitored onGoogle AnalyticsGoogle Analytics
5Keyword ToolGoogle Keyword PlannerGoogle Keyword Planner
6To know the competitor analysis (preferred tools)Ahref, Semrush.Ahref, Semrush.

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