SEM and SEO, as simple and similar the two terms may sound, are extremely different marketing channels that act as a bridge between businesses and their target audience. Often used interchangeably, Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation are two leading approaches that businesses opt for in order to achieve visibility. However, both the approaches are often confused with each other. To make things easier, we have a guide that’ll help you understand the difference between the two.


Also referred to as PPC (Pay per click), Search engine marketing in digital marketing is a strategy that uses paid tactics to achieve high visibility on search engines. As opposed to the organic form of marketing, SEM uses PPC platforms such as Bing Ads and Google Ads- the leading ad formats to reach their target audience.

Benefits of SEM

Some of the benefits that has made SEM a leading form of marketing are as follows:

  • Drive clicks and conversions in a short period of time.
  • Control of when ads show and where and to whom that makes it the best option for testing, refining, directing traffic or even accelerating it when it's low.


Search engine optimisation is the practice of compelling search engines to suggest your content to the user as the best solution for their search.

The 4 Building Blocks of SEO

On-Page SEO refers to optimising elements on the web page and making it easy for search engines to understand the content.

Off Page SEO is the tactic to build authority through link building and other tactics. It helps improve the authority and trustworthiness of a website in the eyes of search engines and audience by connecting it with other credible and relevant sites.

Technical SEO helps to make the user experience better. It involves improving the website's technical structure, the speed, looks, crawlability, security, indexing amongst the others.

Content is one of the major factors that contribute to better ranking. Content that answers people’s queries is something that helps achieve a higher rank. However, it is important to formulate the right strategy.

Which should you use?

The one simple answer to this is that it depends on factors such as:

Your goal: If you wish to test a new offer or drive quick traffic to a sale then SEM should be your option. On the other hand, SEO is optimal if you are looking for long term growth.

Current Performance: If you have a strong organic presence on SERPs, you can augment it with SEM that can complement your SEO practices to achieve more visibility.

Light Buzz Media is a leading digital marketing agency in Mumbai that offers the best search engine optimisation and search engine marketing services for your brand to achieve the best results.