It is frequent that people (including some online marketing professionals) tend to confuse SEM and SEO, so we will clarify the characteristics of each of them.


SEM: Search Marketing or SEM (“Search Engine Marketing”) has to be with the sponsored (paid) results in search engines like Google. One of the most known is Adwords (PPC, pay per click), where the bid for a search term appears on top on the results page.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization or SEO (or “Search Engine Optimization”) includes, among other things, all the work done on a website in order to achieve that the search engines do not find any error when they visit them. It impacts the sequence in which the sites appear in the organic or natural results of search engines like Google.

SEM refers to the promotion of a website in search engines such as Google, through using payment methods such as AdWords or other means such as the placement of ads on websites or blogs visited.

Search engine marketing is controllable and measurable. You decide how much you want to spend, what words or phrases you want to buy, and exactly what page you want your ads to point to.

The SEM professional’s task is to identify and analyze the keywords and terms most sought by users, plan and execute advertising campaigns and evaluate the results.

Generally for this type of campaigns, special sales pages are used to send the interested parties after clicking to a specific advertisement.


SEO optimization includes the process of:

  1. Analyze, discover and solve all technical problems of a website, so that the search engines index it correctly. There are free and paid online tools that might help in this task.
  2. Build links from other websites (also known as back links), in order to have inbound links to which Google gives some value. While there are many ways to do it, we can say that the publication of articles on third-party websites or comments left on other blogs are usually important, provided that the address of the website itself is displayed. In some cases other people use our website as a reference in their articles and then add a link.
  1. Identify the most important pages of our site and improve its significant elements (for example the title, keywords in the content, etc.) in order to allow search engines to consider them relevant for certain searches.

It is well known that Google “reads” the content of the pages you visit automatically, trying to identify certain terms or phrases that allow you to determine its importance. Populating an article with certain keywords -without abusing, of course- will be beneficial to appear on the first pages of the results.

SEO optimization improves the position of a website in the “organic” (free) results of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing and as a consequence it tends to increase the number of visitors a website receives.

In conclusion, SEO and SEM are very different things and I hope that this article has been clarifying.

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