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SEO vs. SEM: Which one is better -in simple terms?

There are many ways to drive traffic to a site but basically the two most prominent internet marketing is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Simply put, SEO is a subcategory of SEM. But let’s describe, differentiate and identify which of them is better a bit more in simple terms shall we?

What Is SEO and What Is SEM?

SEO – It involves all the link building and on-page optimization activities. Its main goal is to achieve good rankings in organic search. Effective SEO increases your ranking thus increases your brand awareness and traffic.

SEM – involves researching, submitting and positioning a Web site within search engines to achieve website visibility via paid listings (i.e. PPC or pay-per-click). While SEO is a part of SEM, it involves and factors many variables.

What’s their Similarity?

Both generate traffic and visibility to your site.

What’s their difference?

-it takes time before you see results. (A minimum of six months if an SEO marketing firm is handling your website, a year or more if you’re doing it alone)

-If maintained (and if search engines won’t throw tantrums regularly), your page ranking and visibility will escalate until such time that you’re website turns into an authority page. It’s like investments: takes longer but will pay dividends eventually.


-Good for small to medium businesses, and to professionals working independently.

-Instant first page rankings since you’re paying search engines or third party SEM marketing

-Pricey! Simply put, when you stop paying, your glory days of being on top ends.

-it is the fastest way in gaining traffic to your website including your social media or your e-
commerce sites.

-If you have the budget to maintain it then by all means go for it!

Which one is better?

Investing on SEO is strongly advised since it’s cheaper and has stronger foundation. You can move to Search engine marketing or continue your SEO campaign alongside SEM. Two is better than one as they say. In the end you’re the one who’ll choose what’s best for you.

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