skip to Main Content

SEM vs. SEO: What’s the Difference and How to Prioritize

Ready to increase your online presence and drive business but unsure how to prioritize and where to put your limited marketing budget? There are a lot of decisions that need to be made concerning digital marketing, but one of the big ones is whether to focus on SEO or SEM.

First Things First: What Are SEO and SEM?

SEO is search engine optimization. It entails making changes to your website in order to make it more visible on search results – i.e., so that it will come up on the first page of results when someone types in a search term on Google or another search engine. SEO takes into account what terms people actually search for, what search engines “like,” and which search engines are most likely to be used by target customers. There are many different SEO tactics that can be employed to maximize the chance that your desired customers will actually find your website.


SEM is search engine marketing. This increases a website’s presence on a search engine results page primarily through pay-per-click advertising. In most cases, this means using Google AdWords.

What Should You Spend Your Money On?

Though it might sound like SEO is free and SEM is not (since you are paying for advertisements with the latter), that isn’t the case. You can actually end up spending a ton of money on SEO–updating content and HTML in order to appear in search results.

So what do we recommend? Well, SEO changes at lightning speed, meaning that website updates you pay for one month may be completely irrelevant by the next quarter. AdWords, on the other hand, only improves over time. The longer you have AdWords running, the more entrenched it becomes, and the better payoff you will see.

While we always recommend and provide basic SEO maintenance for our clients (including blogs, social media, website updates, etc.), we think that the priority should be on SEM. AdWords is a must-have for any business.

Want to learn more about SEM and how it can help you take your business to the next level? Contact Niki at for a free consultation.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top