SEO and SEM – are they one and the same? (Part 9)

I wish to devote this blog to a very common question which is many a time raised by amateur internet marketers and small business owners at webmasters– are SEO and SEM the same? The internet technology is so rapidly evolving that terminologies associated with it are also appearing at an amazing speed and very often people confuse one with the other. This is the reason why SEO and SEM are often held as synonymous, although the two are vastly apart in meaning and scope.

SEM is a very broad term and includes everything that can necessarily be performed to use the search engine technology for promoting a site, enhancing its traffic, increasing its sustenance power and of course boosting its business potential. And SEO is actually a specialized segment of SEM, which aims at increasing the quantity and quality of traffic in a site. It is essential to understand the difference between the two, if you wish to employ SEO or SEM for improving your success quotient in internet marketing.


SEO is the tool which employs several practices to drive quality traffic to a particular site. And what is quality traffic? Well, you can call this target traffic as well, since this traffic swiftly gets converted to buyers – meaning that they easily become customers who sign-up for a service, purchase a product, share their e-mail address or register for receiving newsletters. In SEO terminology they either become leads or generate actual sale.

How does SEO achieve this?

  • By using keywords strategically in the right locations in optimized content
  • Through links and backlinks
  • On-site Seo techniques
  • Offsite Seo techniques

SEO attempts to optimize a site content with necessary tools so that the “bots” or “spiders” of Search Engines are able to discover the webpage information, analyze it, determine whether it is useful for an intended user search, index it and give it a rank in SERPs.


Search Engine Marketing is also a kind of online marketing and its aim is also to improve the visibility of websites on the SERPs of major Search Engine Pages. SEM however goes one step further than SEO and combines seo strategies with paid advertising resources like Paid Inclusion, Traditional Ads and PPC advertising for accomplishing its target.

Using SEO and SEM in combination can immediately improve the visibility and traffic of a venture but it entails a big expenditure, the funds for which small business owners are usually lacking. So I recommend that you must use SEO at the onset to formulate, code and structure your florist website in a seo-friendly way and then use SEM to buff up its actions.  If your site has not been prepared and promoted in the right manner, then what can an increased volume of traffic do to it? Absolutely nothing! They will take leave sooner than they arrive. Let SEO promote your site first to the search engines, improve its ranking, highlight your web presence and then you can proceed to the more intricate aspects of internet marketing – not before that.

This much for now. In my concluding blog I will try and answer some very important questions about small business SEO campaign basics, to clear up any doubts that you may have.

2 thoughts on “SEO and SEM – are they one and the same? (Part 9)”

  1. Thank you for posting this. This post has provided answers to many of my questions on SEO and SEM.

  2. I never stopped to actually look at the subtle (yet big) differences between SEM and SEO. I tend to do more SEO than SEM, but they are both pretty important for any business.

    I will have to get into some SEM in the following months because I think some PPC advertising could be beneficial for some of my blogs. I also want to give Adwords another try after only playing with it a little a couple of years back.

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