What is SEO and SEM in Digital Marketing | Explained

What is SEO and SEM in Digital Marketing? How it works?

If you are new to digital marketing concepts this information will amaze you because the anatomy behind every single user search in google has lot to do with SEO and SEM.


First and foremost, what is digital marketing?

Any product or service that we sell through digital platforms/channels is called digital marketing. Example e commerce websites like Amazon, flipkart etc.

Now let the cat out of the bag.

Google is the no 1 search engine on the planet. It records some million number of searches per minute across the globe. It shows how people are dependant and reliable on google for everything. In daily life, we search google for everything under the sun.

Let’s say a user is searching for “best shopping malls in Hyderabad” google fetches lot of search results with required information for the keyword “best shopping malls in Hyderabad”. Look at the picture below. 

In the same way, people search google for tons of information on various topics be it food, clothing, healthcare, education, travel, etc. People refer to all search results and eventually pick one.

This is how companies, business owners and entrepreneurs are selling their products and services by optimizing their content, and by making it compatible with search engine. This is digital era.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) comes into the play. SEO is a technique used by webmasters to bring organic traffic from google to the websites where they would like to sell their products.

Another example: “Best IELTS Online Coaching in Hyderabad”. Look at the picture below

From the picture, you can see desiplatform’s article is ranking in 1st page of google for the keyword “Best IELTS Online Coaching in Hyderabad”.

We know that people are searching with this key word. Especially the students who are willing to go abroad for higher studies. Therefore, desiplatform did its research on the keyword and its volume and listed out the names of few online training platforms in the form of an article. As a result Desiplatform gets lots of organic traffic for this article.


SEO Analysts does a lot of keyword research so they will know what people are searching for and what keywords they are using for the search. Accordingly, they write SEO content on websites, landing pages, and submit them to google through a tool called google search console also known as web masters tool.

Therefore, when a user is searching with any keyword, google fetches the results for those keywords only. This is how SEO works.

Optimizing the content according to the user requirement and therefore applying SEO techniques like keywords, link building, on page seo, off page seo is called search engine optimization. It is so depth and a topic for another day.

SEO is to get organic traffic from search engines to the websites or landing pages. Hope you understood what SEO stands for.

What is SEM?

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) also brings organic traffic from search engine but you will have to pay for it. Especially when a keyword has lot of competition, it gets difficult to rank in google 1st page.

To put it in a simple way, when SEO technique is not working due to the competition SEM comes into the picture. Please refer to the picture below (“Best Data science training in Hyderabad”) search results.

The Keyword “Best Data science training in Hyderabad” is an example for SEM. It is an Ad. You can see clearly that we pointed it in red circle.

You can find the difference of SEO & SEM search results from the pictures we shared.

SEM articles are shown as Ads because SEM is a paid version. Mostly Big companies or new companies who wants to sell or advertise their products are likely to go with SEM. They don’t mind spending more money.

Google AdWords is a separate tool for placing ads in search engines like google and YouTube (SEM Purpose).

Google Search Console or Web Master Tool is used to get your site or article indexed with google search engine (SEO purpose).

Hope you figured out the difference between SEO and SEM. Let us know if you have any questions in the comment box.

If you find this interesting, go and join a full-time digital marketing course and learn from best mentors. Digital Marketing is in full swing and it is the next big thing!

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