What’s the Difference Between SEO & SEM?

What’s the Difference Between SEO & SEM?

If you are looking to increase the visibility of your website online then you will need to partake in some SEO and SEM activity. These three-lettered acronyms are often thrown around but to the uninitiated it can be difficult to understand what the difference between the two terms actually is.

This blog post aims to explain the difference and why you need to use both for a fully successful online marketing campaign.


SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation is purely focussed on the organic performance of your website on search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Organic, or natural traffic is that which has come through to your website for free, generally because they have searched for a keyword or phrase on a service like Google and your website has appeared in the results. These are the ten non-sponsored listings that take up the majority of the page of search results.

SEO activity can be broken down into a couple of main elements – on page and off-page SEO.

On page SEO

In simple terms, this is where the website needs to be optimised to meet certain best-practice guidelines. Things like ensuring there is good quality content on each page, giving each page unique meta titles, descriptions and H1 tags, optimising images and site-speed will all help make your site work harder when it comes to appearing in the search engine results. Overall you need to try and make it the best user-experience possible to be given the trust and authority from Google that you feel it deserves..

Off-page SEO

Something that many companies that provide SEO/SEM services will look at is your off-site SEO activity. This mainly consists of seeing which websites are linking to yours as this is the strongest signal to Google that your website is trustworthy and authoritative. However, not all links are equal, and you need to ensure that you are getting links from quality, relevant resources, or doing activity to attract links naturally by creating your own high-quality content.


SEM is an abbreviation for Search Engine Marketing and this encompasses all of your online marketing activity. Of course, this includes SEO, but you also need to consider things such as any paid advertising you want to do on Google (known as PPC), any PR and promotional branded activity you want to do online, as well as the presence you are building on social media platforms such as Facebook.

There are a vast number of ways to market your business online and each company and niche should consider their approach and pick the one that is most suitable for them. For example, a small hardware shop is unlikely to be able to compete with larger companies on paid adverts on Google, though it may be able to get home bloggers to review certain products for them and link back to them to improve their SEO performance.

About the author: Beanstalk Inc can help you decide on the most suitable SEO/SEM services for your business and deliver a strategy to help you achieve your goals.

Published by Valentine Belonwu

My name is Valentine, founder of this site, an entrepreneur working as a moderator at Bizsugar a small business community news site. Connect with me on Google+ at Valetine Belonwu


  1. g about · June 20, 2020

    Wow, that’s what I was exploring for, what a stuff!
    present here at this website, thanks admin of this site.

  2. g this · June 20, 2020

    I am curious to find out what blog system you’re using? I’m having some small security issues with my latest site and
    I would like to find something more safe.
    Do you have any recommendations?

  3. g · June 21, 2020

    Ahaa, its fastidious discussion concerning this
    piece of writing at this place at this website,
    I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting at this place.

  4. · June 24, 2020

    cbd oil that works 2020
    Thanks for finally talking about > What’s the Difference
    Between SEO & SEM? | Business Gross < Liked it! best cbd oil for pain cbd oil that works 2020

  5. web hosting services · July 18, 2020

    Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple,
    yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult to get
    that “perfect balance” between superb usability and appearance.
    I must say that you’ve done a superb job with this.
    Additionally, the blog loads super quick for me on Internet explorer.
    Exceptional Blog!

  6. best web hosting sites · July 25, 2020

    Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with
    us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the
    information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Outstanding blog and superb style and design.

  7. web hosting reviews · August 6, 2020

    Hey I am so glad I found your site, I really found you by mistake, while I was
    researching on Digg for something else, Regardless I
    am here now and would just like to say many thanks for a incredible post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also added in your
    RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read
    more, Please do keep up the superb jo.

  8. web hosting reviews · August 11, 2020

    This piece of writing is in fact a pleasant one it helps new the web people, who
    are wishing in favor of blogging.

  9. best web hosting sites · August 14, 2020

    Hey, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it
    has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, very good blog!

  10. cheap flights · August 24, 2020

    What’s up, this weekend is good in favor of me, because this time i am reading this
    enormous educational post here at my residence.

  11. yyefnkvqqh · August 24, 2020

    What’s the Difference Between SEO & SEM? | Business Gross

  12. cheap flights · August 27, 2020

    Hi, I log on to your blog on a regular basis. Your humoristic style is witty, keep it up!

  13. black mass · August 31, 2020

    Hi! I’ve been reading your site for a while now and finally got the
    bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Tx!

    Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

  14. website hosting companies · September 5, 2020

    Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up fast!
    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol