SEO Vs SEM: Which Brings You Better Return on Investment (ROI)

SEO Vs SEM: Which brings you better Return on Investment (ROI)

In this era of high technology, online marketing, especially search engine has become really important for promoting all kinds of businesses. These days, users usually land on the website of their choice via search engines rather than directly accessing it. The different organization uses different methods to increase traffic to their site, but two most popular options are Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The major confusion is whether to go for SEO or SEM to drive potential customers towards your site. Both the methods of online marketing, come up with its own cost, benefits, and strategies. Here, we are going to discuss the basic difference between SEO or SEM, SEO Vs SEM, their benefits and how they actually work. Let’s go through an intro;

SEO Vs SEM : The Difference

Basic concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the abbreviation for search engine optimization that is actually the tactics and strategies that are involved in making the site accessible to search engine and make it friendly for web spiders so that it can be easily traced. In other words, SEO is the process by which sites can improvise their ranking from free, editorial, organic or natural search results from Search engines. It involves posting quality content, use of appropriate keywords, implementing user-friendly navigation.

Benefits of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Affordability is the biggest advantage of SEO as the person can spend as much as they want. SEO is open-ended and is fruitful for businesses of all sizes.

SEO is also guided by protocols and quality guidelines established by search engines that serve as an added benefit. Search engines like Google take strict actions against those websites who break these norms by penalizing them and removing them from ranking. This promotes healthy competition and keeps the result fair.

SEO Vs SEM: Which Brings You Better Return on Investment (ROI)

Basic concept of Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM involves the process of increasing web traffic by purchasing ads on a search engine. It is often termed as PPC ads. Ads in successful campaigns are driven towards the potential customers who are searching for specific products or services that increase the conversion ratio.

Microsoft’s Bing Ads and Google AdWords platform are ideal platforms for PPC. When a visitor searches for a phrase or keyword bid by the company, an ad created by the company appears on the page generally on the right or top of the page. When the user clicks on the ads, the company pays a set amount for a click which is determined prior.

Benefits of Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Whether it’s a startup or a new business, finding SEM or PPC helps in getting the top rank on the first page of the search engine with reasonable ROI and low investment. It becomes easier and inexpensive to appear in top ads when the competition is less.

PPC advertising is beneficial even for established businesses as it adds some consistency by making the flow of visitors steady and regular on the front page. Another added benefit of PPC is that it offers instantaneous result. As soon as the ads are clicked and go live, the site starts getting qualified traffic.

Lastly, PPC is ideal for the highest ranking companies because of his high-level exposure and low investment. A combination of SEO Vs SEM is perfect for boosting the visibility of a website that can’t be achieved by SEO alone.

SEO Vs SEM: What is more profitable for Web Traffic

Many times, marketers argue with the fact that which one is better. An article was recently published by Team Exquisite in SEOMoz about the effectiveness of SEO over PPC. It covers some essential points such as

“organic results are 8.5 times more likely to be clicked on in comparison to the paid search results.”

The major reason behind this is that people still find organic results more trustworthy and the searchers are still figuring out the difference between paid and organic results.

Although PPC still holds a pivotal position in improving conversion rates as “paid results is 1.5 times more likely to be clicked in comparison to organic ones”. So, on a concluding note, one can say that “organic search is 5.6 times more effective in comparison to paid search”.

SEO Vs SEM: What is more profitable for Web Traffic

But in some situations, PPC performs better over organic search especially when your business is a startup. In that case, PPC serves as a great way of increasing visibility and building brand awareness. PPC provides great results in minimum time, but it is not recommended to rely completely on PPC for long terms.

It is always a smarter choice to work with, both as they usually complement each other. Both PPC and SEO work to increase conversion rate and helps in improving the online presence of the company. The basic difference is in the scope of the strategy and work. Company’s growth and revenue generations should be the major goal behind every strategy.


For choosing the best method, it is crucial to evaluate the specific need of the business. One should do research in order to understand the differences and expectations that are vital to meetings company goals online. Different businesses have different requirements. SEO works well for some while others gain profit from SEM. There, it is really tough to rely on only one for reaching your business goals. Therefore, it is quite essential to explore and test both the options in order to know what works best for your business and makes you a real ‘winner’.