If you are thinking about starting a new business and are looking to implement a marketing strategy to potentialize results, you’ve probably heard about SEM and SEO. If not, or if you are having doubts about these terms, don’t worry! Here we will talk about the main differences between both terms.

It is important to mention that SEM and SEO are both positioning strategies used for a web page to be ranked in the top results within search engines.  

The difference between SEM and SEO is based on how you will achieve this ranking.

What is SEM?

SEM positioning (Search Engine Marketing) is focused on getting more visibility within search engines through advertising campaigns. 

Do you record using search engines, and when you click enter you see some links with the word “ad”? well that is the result for SEM.

The pages you see on top with the word “ad” are paying to be ranked in that specific place, and in order to be ranked in the top results with SEM, you must analyze the keywords you want to use so that your page is shown when people make a search.

The result of SEM can be shown in search engines as an ad, banner, Google Shopping and remarketing (when products or services are shown from a page you’ve previously visited).

What is SEO?

On the other hand, with SEO positioning (Search Engine Optimization) we are looking to be ranked in the top results, in other words, be one of the first links to show up in search engines.  

In this case, organic results help positioning thanks to a good optimization of the web page, since generally you don’t pay to be ranked in these places.

These first pages that appear just underneath the payed links are the result of a good SEO strategy, since they’ve earned the place for its valuable content, web page quality and proper functioning.



SEM: guaranteed, you invest on advertising campaigns.

SEO: not guaranteed, you must earn the place organically by providing valuable content for your users.


SEM: you invest on advertising campaigns and in people who generate content.

SEO: you invest in people who optimize your content.


SEM: short term.

SEO: medium and long term.


SEM: valuable content which prompts users to click on your ads.

SEO: constant and high-quality content where users show interest and get acquainted with your page.

Which one is best?

Knowing the difference between both terms will help you implement marketing strategies in a more effective way.

We recommend a strategy that involves SEM and SEO. Since SEM can be much more attractive in order to obtain immediate results, the reality is that you must be well ranked with SEO positioning, since this will be the foundation for your business; a project where you will invest time, dedication, and that results obtained in the long term will be effective if you implement a comprehensive strategy. 

Ready to grow your business? Contact us to start today! 

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