SEO and SEM How are they Different?

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Although they are two concepts that have a lot to do with online marketing, SEO and SEM are actually very different. The best way to differentiate them is to understand what each one means and what they are used for. Understanding the difference between the two will allow you to make the most of them together or separately. We have put together a quick comparison to explain the difference between SEO and SEM.


The strictest definition of the word SEO is Search Engine Optimization, meaning it is not a pay-to-play environment. SEO is about search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) choosing content based on massive data sets using complicated algorithms that make the determination display content by order. The top 3 positions are mainly chosen based on the algorithm that determines, which available content is most likely to satisfy the user’s intent for specific information (the search) and provide the most authoritative and credible information on the intent (a webpage).

How to Do it? 

There are many factors that determine when and where the content is shown in search results.
For example, the algorithm changes in search engines optimization.

The content of the pages that we want to position and to which more and more importance is being given. The keywords or keywords, etc. Always, without requiring any purchase or payment.

In SEO, social networks play an important role, sharing the links of the web page to be positioned. A better strategy that makes users share those links,

will make the natural positioning better than the one that is done by exchanging links.


The acronym SEM means Search Engine Marketing, i.e. Search Engine Marketing.

The improvement of SEO is given through the payment of advertisements and are the sponsored results of the search engines. 

(Google Ad Words is one of the systems on which this strategy is based to appear on the first page of results of this search engine).

In Google Ad Words, for example, the client pays for each of the times a user clicks on the link that has been uploaded and paid.

when it appears in the searches carried out in the search engine. They can even decide how much they pay (something like an auction).

To do it correctly, it has to be done by a positioning expert who knows what specific words to choose to bet on the most appropriate PPC (Pay per Click) and even to know the amount that has to be allocated to each keyword to make a correct one distribution of the entire client’s budget.

 You have to do an analysis of the most searched “keywords” to plan the campaign and subsequently evaluate the results.


The difference between both concepts is basically monetary and temporary. SEO positioning is an organic and completely FREE process while SEM is a PAID process

SEO work is usually seen in the medium and long term and SEM is an immediate and short-term strategy.

In which conversion actions can be carried out and the impact of the campaign can be measured in a short period of time, although at a higher economic cost.

Perhaps the best option for a good SEO is to mix both SEO and SEM strategies and do a good job of SEO while investing part of the budget in an SEM campaign.

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