SEO Vs SEM – What’s the Difference?

Online searching is one of the most powerful tools that are present in the industry today. Just like you, most of the people use google to find the solution to their problems and learn new stuff and understand the things around. Whether you’re an online business or a local brick and mortar store, chances are that people are looking for your business online already and in order to capture those the attention of those people, We need to understand whether SEO or SEM will be a good fit for your business.


As of 2018, the daily searches that were conducted online over search engines were more than 6B (billion). Just like any of the technology, the search is growing at a very fast pace and is evolving with time. Which means there are much bigger opportunities for businesses that can be used to reach a much wider audience.

As of today most of the businesses are aware of how search engines can drive a huge amount of traffic to their business website. Not just some random traffic but the traffic that can actually convert into leads and sales. Even though there is an N number of ways to gain more exposure to your business, Google still emerges as a leader of the pack when it comes to getting more exposure for your business and high ROI. This is because of the huge user base that Google has.

Google Vs Bing

Despite, there is still a major question that you may face while trying to use the search engines to grow your business. And that’s where to put your focus in the race between SEO vs SEM. Or in layman language, should you invest your efforts and money into Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Marketing (PPC) / Sponsored Ads.

What is SEO and SEM?

What is SEO and SEM?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

There are multiple numbers of ways that can increase your brand, such as Social Media, Traditional Marketing, etc. But the search engine optimization has its own place when it comes to targeting your customers

But How, exactly? By putting your business in front of your targeted audience when they are searching for services or product that you are offering.

The search queries that people are using to search online are more than just some search queries. They are the doorway for people to come to your website and by ranking for those search queries/keywords, you can gain the most of visibility for your brand. When people search and see your brand multiple times they are more tend to buy from you.

Finding relevant keywords (Keyword Research):

Step 1: List out the seed/basic keywords that you will use if you will need to find your product/service.

Step 2: Once you have listed out a number of seed keywords, It’s time to move forward and create a list of potential keywords that you want your website to rank for. In order to find the search queries, you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner.

Step 3: Now analyze and choose your keywords based on the amount of competition and searches a keyword has. The lower the competition is the easier it’s to rank.

Stronger Branding:

The Internet gives you the opportunity to connect your brand to your prospected customers by providing them with the information that they are looking for. You can publish that content into your blog. This will help you in building a strong relationship with your prospects.

Stronger Branding

People sometimes use commercial search terms to search for your niche market. When they will find out your content, they’ll immediately understand you as a market authority. Which will simply make you an authoritative brand.

Google is used by internet users as a simple yet effective research tool when it comes to finding out the solution to their problems. So what could be a better way to assist them for there buyers decision, then providing them with valuable content.

Building an amazing brand simply starts with providing your users with information in the best possible way. By doing so, you will just automatically become a valuable resource, which is favored by the search engines as well.


Google has a very advanced algorithm that works hard to make sure that only the best websites show up first on google. And everyone who searches over Google knows that it won’t let them down when they search for information.

People who are looking for your service or products will put the trust into your website if you are ranking on the first page of Google. And since most of the people ignore the ads and optin for the organic listings, your job of standing out from your competitor will become much easier.

Also, if you’re an online business or brick and mortar store that depends heavily on user reviews, then being visible over the search engine with positive reviews will simply make your business more credible.

How to Reach 1st Page of Google:

Step 1: Use appropriate keywords in the URL.

Step 2: Use the major keyword as the title tag of the page.

Step 3: Use keywords in the meta description of your page and make the description Click Through effective.

Step 4: Use the primary keyword in the H1 tag.

Step 5: At last, use the primary keyword with the long-tail keyword in the first paragraph of the page.

More Traffic

Everyone knows that by using SEO you can drive a lot of targeted users to your website who are ready-to-buy from your website. Your website might be selling the niche products only, but if you manage to rank for the right and perfect keywords, you will getting the traffic for a long time with sales.

The best part about organic traffic is that it takes a lot of time to dry out. So, once you have ranked, it doesn’t take much efforts to maintain the ranks.

The most effective way to increase the search engine traffic is to curate awesome content that your prospects are looking for. Let’s say if you are a pest control company, you can write some posts about how to get rid of pests. So when someone comes looking for the title, they will find your blog and this can lead to a sale.

the biggest thing in SEO today is content marketing and it’s all about how you use that content to grow your brand and instruct your prospects.

Content marketing implementation for Better SEO results:

  1. Curating unique content will not only allow you to create distinct content for your niche but will provide you with the opportunity to rank on multiple keywords.
  2. Before you create any piece of content, make sure that you have created the user persona for your brand and you understand your target audience. This will help you in producing the content that is more helpful for your customers.
  3. Now start focusing on crafting the awesome content, rather than creating content just for the sake. Even if you are operating in a thin niche, always understand that Google will only favor the quality site over the quantity site. It doesn’t matter if you are publishing 10 pieces of content until they are of good quality.
  4. Publish the content that is backed up with statical data and offers up real help to people. The more time people will stay on your content the more credibility the search engine will give your website.
  5. Start answering those hot questions that people are looking for. This is a proven way to deliver high-quality content that will rank well in search engines as well. If you are answering the questions they are looking for they will simply love your content. And because of the evergreen nature of the content, it’ll start attracting the backlinks from high authority websites.

Building up the traffic with the help of SEO isn’t some rocket science, but it can seem complicated when you’re new to this. Get in touch with us and Hire a Digital Marketing Ninja. We have recently helped small business to generate 120% as their ROI within just 6 months, and we can help you too.

Profound Costing:

The best part of doing SEO is not to worry about costs. There’s a cost involved but running a successful SEO campaign is very lower.

The reason behind this is simple, the brand awareness that can be built with SEO is kind of homing missiles as they are locked onto the target audience. even though the SEO is not cheap, but it’s reliable enough to justify the costs involved. Which simply makes the SEO a winner.

Better ROI:

Better ROI

The paid or sponsored ads charge you for each click, while SEO doesn’t require you to pay for any click or impressions. But SEO isn’t free, depending on the market you are in, you will have to invest the time and money for a long time to get the desired results. If you’re not an expert SEO person, then you will have to work with a reputable SEO company.

Having all that said, SEO can give you a better ROI, compared to the traditional marketing services. Online marketing let you tweak the efforts that you are making and can improve your results over-time. With a bit of patience, you’ll get a much better ROI in long the run.

How To Improve ROI with SEO:

While we have understood that quality is important, we can’t ignore the quantity. For better results of your SEO efforts, make sure you publish content that are of at least 1500 words.

Make sure that the design of your website is very simple and is easy to surf. Because having a simple and firm website structure is important for SEO.

Use relevant images with your content to make it more appealing to the user and improve the SEO.

Higher Sustainability:

Higher Sustainability

A business who want to survive in the long run needs an efficient marketing strategy to rely on. Having a strategy to get the target the prospects to your product page or blog can be proven beneficial.

SEO doesn’t guarantee that you will keep getting the traffic automatically for a long time but, once you rank for the desired keyword keep doing the basic SEO maintenance and you can maintain the rank and by having a strategy can help you dominate the market segment without spending a large amount of money.

Higher CTR:

Higher CTR

Putting your website on top of the sponsored listing into the search engines will require you to put up a lot of money and still there is no guarantee that your ad will get a high number of clicks.

The reason behind this is because the biggest competitor for PPC ads is the SERPs organic listings. As most of the users want to click on organic search results, you will get a higher CTR.

It’s obvious that the CTR depends on various factors, but you do have a higher chance of Clicks on your organic listings than you would have on sponsored ads. So by focusing on the improvement of organic search listings, you’re heading toward a bigger piece of pie for the long run.

Wider Reach:

No matter how well you are at target audience research, it’s not really easy to predict everything that people will type in the search box to find the services or product you are offering. People do around a Billion of searches over Google every day. Which means by focusing only on some of the keywords you are leaving the major chunk out.

When a business focuses only on SEO, they have a broader reach for there brand. The more quality content you will publish the more people will be able to find your website. If more people will find your website, more traffic will come to your website. Resulting directly to more sales for your product.

Antagonistic Dominance:

If you know how SEO work you would already know that getting your website rank in the search engines isn’t a piece of cake. Things don’t happen overnight and it takes a ton of effort to see the results.

It’s obvious that beating a well-established website is not easy for an entry level website. You won’t have to worry about the competitors to buy their way on top. The only option they have is Pay Per click ads, but it isn’t the same as having the organic listing.

By having looked at the above points, SEO sounds great, right? You might think that SEO is the clear winner in SEO vs SEM but, SEO does have some drawbacks as well.

Drawback of SEO:

Time Taking:

SEO is super slow when compared to PPC, especially if your website is new to the market. Once you’ve figured out the keywords that you want, you’ll have to wait for the traffic to start coming in. Depending on the number of keywords that you are targeting and the content you are publishing it can easily take months to get traffic.

Highly Competitive:

For a startup, who are just starting out with SEO, the results will be dominated by websites that already have some authority over the Internet. This is when it becomes important to re-think about the keywords that you are trying to target.

Content Strategy:

Publishing the content which has super high quality on a regular basis can simply help you attract organic traffic. But creating the content that will rank higher in the search engine is not easy. If you don’t have the necessary resources, developing strong content asses can be challenging. Which will simply affect your ability to have an effective working strategy.


Gone are the days when you can simply build a bunch of irrelevant backlinks and shoot up your ranking to the top results.

With Google searches getting smarter everyday backlinking is different now. Link building now simply rely on the type of content that you are publishing. But you can’t just stop with content curation only, you will constantly have to outreach to different websites and ask them for links to your website.

SEM(Search Engine Marketing): Pros and Cons

SEM is one of the most common names used for Pay per click advertisement and is one of the most widely used forms of online marketing and just like any other thing SEM also has both the advantages and disadvantages that you should know about.

Advantage of SEM:

Top Place:

Advantage of SEM

The topmost area of the SERP is where most of the clicks happen. One of the biggest advantages of using paid ads is being able to grab the attention of the target audience by putting yourself to the top of results.

Regardless of whether people choose to click on your ad or not, they will surely not miss seeing it. But, if you have a well-crafted keyword strategy, you will get decent results.

Getting at the top slot of organic search takes a lot of time but with the help of SEM. You can reach the top results in just a few hours.

More Control:

More Control

Sponsored listing ads are more controllable them the SEO listings. By doing some simple tweaking and testing you can improve the performance of your campaign easily.

Unlike the SEO, you can deliver a more persuasive and promotion message with SEM. You can not only control how the message should appear to your prospect but, you can also customize each and every element of ads for an improved CTR.

Product Showcase:

Product Showcase

Organic search listings are just plain texts and nothing else. So if you are selling a product over your ecommerce site. You have no option to show your product in the listing. While in SEM you can simply display your product over the search listings and this can provide you with higher CTR.

Brand Visibility:

When you’re trying to get traffic to your website, it’s very crucial to get only the relevant people to your website. Or else there’s no use of those people on the website. When you are doing SEO, you can’t be sure whether the right people are visiting your website. But with SEM/PPC. You can laser target the ads towards the users who are actually in search of your product.

Getting in front of the people are already into your niche or brand will not only give a boost to your brand but will also help you with increased ROI.

Budget Control:

Budget Control

Investing in search engine marketing is completely different from investing in SEO. Because when you put money into SEM, you can basically control your budget at each and every step. By having a hold on your budget, you don’t lose a lot of money in the long run.

Laser-Targeting Ads

Reaching out to your audience is very easy when you know that you’re not showing your ads to people who are not interested. While going for PPC ads you are not only limited with just one type of targeting, Google AdWords lets you tailor make your ad campaign for the best results.

While doing PPC, the most common targeting that most of the people use is keyword targeting. However, if you know your target audience well, you can go beyond the keyword targeting and can target the ads based on:

  • Timing
  • Days
  • Geographic Location
  • Preferred Language
  • Device Preference.

So, if you’re running holiday sales in your ecommerce store for people who are based in the USA, you can design your ad very precisely for them based on time and location. If done right you can reap a high ROI from your ads.

Quick, and Measurable Results:

If anyone is promising a quick result with SEO, run away as he is just a salesman. SEO is a process that itself takes a lot of time patience, and commitment. It takes time to build up a certain level of organic visibility, no matter how good you are at SEO.

Nevertheless, with a perfect PPC strategy, results can be simply analyzed and if any problem occurs, it can be fixed within no time. PPC can bring in massive results within just one week. If you have the budget, then getting quick results with PPC is possible.

Real-Time Feedback:

PPC is very helpful if you are looking for some constructive feedback from the audience. By starting a PPC campaign, you can get instant feedback that will remove any guess. This type of agility is not possible with SEO. Because Agility requires speed, and the paid ads have it.

Split Testing:

Split Testing

As we already know, one of the major drawbacks of traditional marketing is the lack of data. It’s very hard to know what’s working and what’s not into traditional marketing. For example, you can run the best ever ad in a newspaper or magazine, but you don’t have the access to ad performance.

But search engine marketing lets you split test or do A/B testing for each of your ads. In PPC you can test each and every small element of your ads.

Having such crucial data will not only help you in your ROI improvement but will also give you the needed knowledge to improve your results in marketing areas like SEO and email marketing, etc.

More Stability:

There multiple different updates happening in the SEO world. This is to make sure that users are only receiving the quality results for their queries. However, with recent updates getting ranked over SERP is getting more difficult.

While on the other hand PPC ads are more stable and very predictable. Even if your ad campaign requires any changes or updates. that does not tend to make a huge difference to how your ads will run. PPC is very subtle and is in sync with the advertiser. Which simply means managing a PPC ad campaign and improving the ROI is very easy.



Unless you’re a brand like eBay or Amazon, PPC can be very expensive for you. You might not feel it on the initial level, but over time the costs keep going up and if you are not doing the testing with your ads. You may end up losing up to a chunk of your ad budget without any returns. By simply focusing on the wrong keywords you can make a huge dent in your wallet.

Needs Continual Investment:

SEO isn’t free, but it doesn’t require you to constantly feed it with money. While PPC ad campaigns need you to keep feeding them to get the constant results. The point you will stop feeding it money the results will stop coming in.

If your marketing campaign is successful and is generating a good ROI, feeding it money makes sense. Which is why you need to keep an eye on your ad campaigns.

Campaign Reviews:

PPC ads are not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you know how PPC work you can simply copy your ad campaign or can understand how your sales funnel is working and can duplicate it.

In PPC ads nothing remains a secret, neither your ads, your keywords, nor your strategy. It’s out there in the open and anyone with Adwords knowledge can understand your campaign and can copy you.

Always remember that making a campaign successful requires a lot of skills. Everything from monitoring bids to adjusting the ad copy needs professional help. So if you’re new to the PPC world and don’t want to lose a lot of money, Hire A Ninja for your PPC Needs.


Whatever your business is regardless of its size, has a unique audience. You may be able to reach them with the help of SEO or SEM, but the results totally depend on your business goals.

For some of the businesses, SEO makes a complete sense and PPC is useless. And for some SEO is not a viable option when they compare the benefits of PPC to SEO.

So if you are an accounting agency that wants to generate the business locally and have a lot of time, then building up and executing a strong SEO strategy can provide you with great ROI. But if you’re a business that can’t wait for the long term results and have a very competitive space in SEO, then you are better off with PPC ads to get the results.

It’s very important to understand and analyze your marketing goals and how they can correlate to your business objective. You will need to create an online marketing strategy that will guide you to the right method to approach the market.

Balancing SEO and PPC

If you are a business who craves for a strong online presence and getting better ROI for both the short and long run, then you’ll need to balance both the SEO and PPC together.

Your efforts for a PPC campaign can cover up for the long run objectives of SEO and vice versa. By putting together both the marketing methods into your business, you will end up getting the best of both.

How to balance SEO Vs PPC:

Always collect the conversion data from your PPC campaign and use it to convert your organic traffic into sales. Also, make sure to optimize your website for those keywords who are working best for you in your PPC campaign.

Work toward both the paid and organic search listing to double up your traffic by increasing your visibility in the SERP. This tactic gives out great results when are aiming for the competitive keywords that require a larger PPC budget.

Focus your SEO efforts on those keywords that too expansive for you to cover in your PPC strategy. By doing this your PPC efforts will only direct toward the keywords that can provide you better ROI at low cost.

The Ad copy that is performing excellently in your Ad campaign can be used as the meta description of your website for the organic listing for an increased click-through rate. Also, try to divert the organic traffic toward the landing pages who are converting well with PPC campaign.

Try and test different keywords with your PPC ads before you start investing in them to improve your search engine rankings. The only purpose of running those small PPC campaigns is to find out whether you should go with those keywords for the long run or not.

By staying active on both the SEO and SEM, you’d be able to reach out to more potential customers that can help you build even more brand awareness which will ultimately provide you with better ROI.


Understanding your business and its goals are important when it comes to building an online marketing strategy that provides results. But by focusing on both the SEO and SEM, you ate automatically taking a better approach than your competitors who are focusing on only one method.

But this differs from Business to Business, every business has its own goals and objectives. But if you are looking forward to improving your chances of success better then your competitor. then you will have to use the most optimum search strategy that involves both the SEO and SEM.


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