SEO vs SEM, Which One to Choose for Business

SEO vs SEM, Which One to Choose for Business

SEO vs SEM, Which One to Choose for Business

With internet, everyone can find information about everything, products and service included. People search things on internet to find the answer of their curious questions. They refer to Google, the gigantic search engine. The popularity of Google is what made business owner alike to use it for advertising. There are two methods to build a business presence between search results of Google, through SEO and SEM. Both have their own advantage and disadvantage, but which one is actually the one for your business? Through this article, Picodio will try to make a basic rundown of SEO vs SEM, in hope to help you find the one.


The abbreviation of search engine optimization, SEO is a series of things conducted to optimize a website so its organic traffic which comes from search results of Google is increasing. As mentioned, optimizing website using SEO will increase organic traffic. In other words, SEO isn’t a paid service of Google. You can’t pay Google to make your website appear on Google’s search results. However, since SEO requires regular maintenance, it may cost you money. Especially if you hire a professional such as a SEO agency to get the work done.

To simplify, SEO is series of technique that follow Google Search’s rules to make your website appear in Google’s search result page instead of many other websites. The main aim is to attract audience that is highly relevant to your line of business. In order to increase relevant audience visiting your website, you need to target multiple keywords. It needs to keep it mind that SEO result in organic traffic, therefore to see the actual result will require relatively long time, depends on many factors.

Many years ago before Google made major update of its search engine, optimizing website using SEO was much easier. Unethical methods were easy to implement. However, Google has long updated its search engine so optimizing website using SEO is not that easy anymore. You are required to deliver quality, not just runabout content to fool Google’s algorithm.

Advantage of SEO

Trust and Credibility

It’s widely known that people less believing on advertising. Since SEM will appear with a clear label of “ads”, organic result optimized with SEO has higher advantage of being trusted (and clicked) by audience. Plus, people less likely to click on the second page of Google Search. So SEO vs SEM, it is indeed more advantageous to build trust and credibility through SEO.

Lower Costs and Better ROI

Since SEO is organic, the cost spent will be lower compared to the result you will be getting. Although it requires maintenance, it won’t cost as much as buying a paid ads. Furthermore, since whenever audience click on organic result won’t cost you a single penny, SEO definitely have better ROI. Taking notes of audience’s trust of organic result and no-fee click, ROI with SEO is definitely better. However, you need to remember that SEO isn’t exactly free. It costs some to commit on maintenance to achieve the desired results. If you are not sure with your SEO skill, you can try working with credible SEO agency.

3 Tips on How to Choose Credible SEO Agency

Disadvantage of SEO

Takes Time

To achieve your desired result, it will take time. Especially if you just a starting business player and hasn’t established a firm grip in the competition.

Highly Competitive

As a beginner player in SEO, your chosen keyword to optimize might be dominated by big business players already. So the competition is tight and hard to win.

Regular Backlink

Link building is one of technique implemented of a successful SEO. With updated Google Search, you need to regularly do backlinking with relevance. You can’t just backlink carelessly without takes note of where and what.


Search engine marketing or SEM is paid advertising service of search engine. As the gigantic one, Google is the preferred choice of search engine among others. Google advertising service itself is known as Google Adwords. To appear in search results, you need to pay Google a sum of money. Google Adwords will appear together with organic result of Google Search, but of course it will be listed as “ads” so audience know the difference between the paid and organic ones.

SEM also often being referred as PPC or pay-per-click, since you only pay whenever audience click your ads. At this point to avoid confusion, you need to remember that SEM and PPC are the general terms. Google Adwords is the SEM/PPC of Google.

If the aim of SEO is to increase organic traffic, SEM is used in hope to drive the right traffic to website without having to wait for long. In other words in term of appearing in search result, SEO vs SEM: Needs more time vs Immediate.

Advantage of SEM

Placed on Top (and Bottom)

Ad listing of SEM is placed on the top and bottom of Google Search’s result page. Audience’s attention is automatically directed to the top of result page and when they scroll through it, their attention will eventually land on the bottom.

Budget Control

Since SEM is paid, its one-by-one step is so clear therefore you can see where and how much of your budget is spent. SEM gives you flexibility to control your budget, how much you are willing to spend to advertise on Google.

Very Specific Target Audience

With SEM you can target very specific audience. This can be done by tweaking the setting on who your ads will be seeing. You can set time of the day, day in a week, geographic location, language used, and device used.

Disadvantage of SEM

Can be Expensive

Without the right budgeting and thorough result monitoring, SEM can be expensive. You keep spend to buy an ad but its result is not worth it.

Repeat Investment

Although SEO needs regular maintenance, it doesn’t cost you on everything. SEM needs you to pay an actual amount so your ad is up. When the time has running out, you need to pay again to keep it up.

Open to Competitor

Buying an ad listing means that yo make your advertising strategy open to be scrutinize by competitors. They can clearly see your ads, your chosen keywords, how your landing page looks, your overall strategy of using SEM.

SEO vs SEM, Which One to Choose?

Depends on your line of business, you will need one compared to the other. There are some business that works great using SEO but useless using SEM and vice versa. You need to lay out a clear and thorough marketing strategy to find one. By knowing the basic rundown of SEO vs SEM, we hope you can decide which is the one for your business. You can also use both of them in balance to maximum result. Not sure how to do that? Contact us, Picodio, a experienced digital agency that has helped various business to meet their audience using both SEO and SEM. Schedule a meeting now for free consultation!

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