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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are the most effective ways to optimize your website in a search ranking and to get in front of clients. Some specialists say that SEO and SEM are mostly like cousins than brothers. Although they have quite the same tasks and goals, but they work for you with different methods and techniques.

In this article we selected the most important differences and common features for you to understand what are their qualities, and which you will need to use for you website. Enjoy your reading and be ready to start being “relative” with SEO and SEM techniques!

1. SEO is a part of SEM

You can imagine a big tree of SEM with different branches, and one of them is SEO. So we cannot divide SEO from SEM as we cannot do it with a tree and branch. Apart from this component, SEM also includes paid search which is also known as Pay Per Click (PPC). Also SEM is working with Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Content Marketing.

However, SEO can exist without other SEM techniques. For example, you can use organic search without paying for advertisement or usage of Social Media Marketing. But there will be less progress if you use SEM methods without SEO.  

2. SEO has free traffic from search engines and it is less costly than SEM

SEO has great capabilities for ranking organic search and free traffic, when SEM is a paid search. With help of PPC technique advertisers pay only for impressions that result in visitors. You can use the advertising agency of Google AdWords and you will pay only for click on your advertisements. In order to use the best SEO tools find out clear information in our article Free SEO Tools.

3. SEO has slow and long-term results, when SEM results appear immediately

We recommend SEO as the first stage for you website optimization and search ranking. But patience in SEO practice is the main quality - SEO will not get you fast results. You will need not only to wait after making some SEO techniques, but also to repeat and to develop them every day. SEO is a daily process with eternal results. When SEM can get you instant qualified traffic with fewer efforts - PPC will do a half of your work.

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4. Off-page and on-page SEO

SEO has two sides of its functioning – there are inside the website and outside the website development. In on-page SEO techniques there are usage of good original content, meta descriptions, navigation, tags, keywords, well-written URL, sitemap, etc. Off-page SEO includes backlinks, social network sites, forum posting, etc. SEM methods mostly gathered around PPC, search analytics, contextual advertising and SMM. SEM maximizes organic search optimization, optimizes website pages for sales, monitors metrics, makes posts on social media resources and creates advertisement groups. Overall, SEO and SEM both have off-page and on-page techniques in their work for your website.

5. Black hat and White hat SEO

In our article “20 basic SEO terms” you can grasp the difference between these definitions. Briefly, the Black hat SEO is going against the terms of service and White hat SEO is opposite it. As we remember, SEO is just part of SEM, so SEM also contains either unethical methods or pure techniques. It is always your choice which of two “hats” to use. Just try not to spoil your perfect website with “dirty weapons” and SEO and SEM finally will show you all their potential.

For more information about practical tips and instructions about SEO and SEM read our useful article How to do SEO?

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