The 6 differences between SEO and SEM

Online marketing has its own language. SEO, SEM, SMM, CTR, CRO, Remarketing, Display advertising. It is sometimes difficult to find one’s way. Covering all these terms would be far too long to do in one article. In this post, we will overcome the differences between SEO and SEM.



When we talk to our customers about the terms ” SEO ” and ” SEM ”, their faces are often confusing. This is understandable, our clients do not all work in the field of the web, that’s why they do business with us. But hey, we’re not here to talk about our customers, but we’re talking about online marketing.

SEO is an acronym for ” Search Engine Optimization ” also referred to as natural SEO. The search engines exploit robots also called “spiders” which surf the Internet from site to site and hyperlinks to hyperlinks in order to discover the contents of the sites. It’s not for nothing that we call it the “web”!

SEO serves to optimize the content of websites in order to please the ” spiders ” who provide the algorithms of search engines in information. In short, the better the optimization, the more easily the spiders pass the information to the search engines, the greater the chances of appearing in the first pages of a search engine (such as Google).

Then come SEM or ” Search Engine Marketing ”. Also called Paid SEO is the easiest technique to appear in the top positions of the various search engines but also the most expensive. This allows, in exchange for a cost-per-click (CPC or PPC), to go out in the first Google search results. This is extremely effective in quickly attracting traffic that already has an interest in your products or services.



1- The traffic acquired by the SEO is free of charge, while that of the SEM is chargeable.

2- SEO is a very specific term that defines good practices in the creation of websites. The SEM itself, is to pay search engines and social networks in exchange for high quality traffic.

3- The SEO is used to make your site appear in the first results when someone searches for the keywords related to your business. The SEM, it, is to pay to go out in the first results with exact keywords that are likely to be sought by your target audience. This is why a thorough search of keywords and a constant analysis of the results are paramount.

4- SEO is a long-term solution, while SEM becomes very effective rather quickly.

5- The SEM allows to start quickly, without having to modify the structure of the site. The SEO him, requires a lot of modifications from the site, and therefore, a lot of time.

6- With SEM campaigns, your competitors may decide to click on your ads, which results in costs.



SEO and SEM are two very good techniques for getting traffic to its website. Both having their strengths and weaknesses. In an ideal world, if the budget allows, using these two techniques at the same time will allow you to achieve results in the short, medium and long term. It all depends on your needs.

If your budget is limited and you want to get results quickly, SEM is the best option because it allows you to generate sales and reinvest in marketing. To find out if you should use Facebook advertising vs. Google Adwords, I strongly advise you to read this article.

If you do not want to invest an astronomical sum during the year, SEO is the best choice for you. You will pay for the changes made to the site, but the results over the long term will not cost you anything.

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