Is there a Difference Between SEO and SEM?

Is there a Difference Between SEO and SEM?

If you’re a business owner or manager who is looking to make improvements to your digital marketing stagey, it’s natural to have a lot of questions about how everything works.

For this blog, we wanted to talk about the differences between SEO and SEM, along with the benefits of each.


SEO is also known as search engine optimization. It’s comprised of number of components (website design, keyword usage, blogging, backlinks, etc.) that are used in conjunction with one another, in a way that’s designed to improve the ranking of your website.

The goal is for your website to appear on the first page of a Google search. Why? Because websites that rank beyond page three may never be found.  SEO is made up of two pillars; onsite and offsite. Onsite SEO, as the name implies, includes the types of things you can do within your website that will make it friendly to the Google crawlers.

Offsite SEO (which is sometimes referred to as link building) is a bit more complicated, because it involves employing strategies that help other websites point to yours.


SEM is also known as search engine marketing. It’s a component of an overall digital marketing strategy that, when used correctly, can help augment your SEO efforts.  The main purpose of SEM is to get more traffic to your website and it’s most commonly done through the use of PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.

Let’s say you own a day spa and you’re wanting to increase the number of HydraFacials you do each month. Since your ads would be designed to appear when people would use certain keywords, your conversion rate will be a lot higher. The longer people spend on your website, the more favorable your website will be in the eyes of the Google crawlers.

Which one is better?

SEO and SEM are best when used together; in some ways, you can think of search engine optimization as being the peanut butter to search engine marketing’s jelly. (Or vice versa.)

Remember, creating an effective digital marketing campaign is a bit like making a cake. It’s about taking several different ingredients and combining them together, to create the desired outcome.

If all of this sounds a bit confusing, or you have questions about how to best use SEO and SEM in conjunction with one another, call WBN Marketing today to speak with a digital marketing expert you can trust