Differences between SEO and SEM

The terms SEO and SEM refer to two positioning techniques whose purpose is to prioritize the visibility of internet platforms. SEO and SEM are two terms that are repeatedly mentioned when talking about digital marketing and although both concepts have similarities and points in common, they clearly differ from each other in terms of the objectives pursued by each of them and their main uses. .

Therefore, it is important to highlight these differences in this article so that the reader has an easy-to-understand tool that helps clarify any doubts they may have in this area.


The term SEO comes from the acronym in English -Search Engine Optimization- which means optimization for search engines or commonly search engines. It is a positioning strategy for internet sites that affects the order in which the sites appear in the results -organic- or natural of search engines. Organic results are understood as the ads that are closest to the query made by the user and that do not make any payment to internet search engines.

Thus, SEO is one of the most used internet marketing strategies because it seeks to increase the visibility of web pages. Consequently, this generates higher profits through the virtual visits of users on those optimized sites.


The term SEM, for its acronym in English -Search Engine Marketing-, translates as search engine marketing and is a technique that affects the positioning of internet sites by increasing their visibility in the payment markets or advertisements of the websites. search engines through a pay-per-click system.

Therefore, and as can be seen, SEM affects ad campaigns and is one of the most used positioning techniques in online marketing, by virtue of the ease it allows when measuring results.

As was made clear in the previous paragraphs, SEM and SEO occupy an important place within the positioning techniques of internet sites, since both generate immediate results.

The most important differences between SEM and SEO are described below:

SEM affects the areas of sponsored results (advertising payments) in search engines. SEO is considered a natural process that does not require any payment, only optimization of the website.
When talking about SEM, reference is made to payment for virtual visits to internet sites and payment for advertising campaigns. To use SEO it is not necessary to pay for the positioning of the sites.
Since SEM is a sponsored technique, it is very flexible to change, which means that any changes that occur within the campaign will be immediately reflected in the search results. SEO is less flexible, so a significant change in the site must be recognized by the search engine and then updated, which can take days, weeks or even months.

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