SEO SEM - Digital Marketing Explained: The Difference Between SEO and SEM - Versique

Digital Marketing Explained: The Difference Between SEO and SEM

by Versique

Many companies use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) interchangeably, but there is a fundamental difference between the two – one is organic, while the other is paid. Search engines provide sponsored (paid) results and organic (non-sponsored) results based on a web searcher’s query.


SEM is designed to increase a website’s visibility on the search engine results page, mostly through Pay-Per-Click (PPC). Search engine marketing includes all of an advertiser’s actions to make a website’s listing more prominent for topical keywords.


SEO, on the other hand, attempts to improve a website’s organic search rankings in online search results by increasing the website content’s relevance to search terms. Search engines regularly update their algorithms to penalize poor quality sites that try to artificially increase their rankings, making optimization a highly competitive moving target.

Digital Marketing careers take more than just an affinity for technology. Modern marketers in the digital arena must drive their strategies with constantly emerging search engine tools and data.

Interested in building your brand’s search engine visibility? Here are some roles that you should look for when creating your digital team:

Paid Search/SEM Manager

An SEM Manager is responsible for developing PPC strategies and campaign efforts for new clients, providing keyword and competitive research, recommending and implementing specific account optimizations, and providing monthly reporting communications. The Paid Search Marketing Manager role requires an individual capable of building creative keyword strategies while analyzing and interpreting data.

SEO Director

The SEO Director is heavily involved in managing all Search Engine Optimization and marketing efforts. These positions strategize all of the planning, optimizing, implementing, and analyzing organic marketing activities. SEO Directors typically operate on both a strategic and tactical level, touching all aspects of search marketing including keyword management, creation of campaign messaging, bidding strategies, creative testing, and analytics.

When diving into search engine optimization and marketing techniques, be sure that you and your team are ready to execute your digital strategies. Don’t have an SEO/SEM team or want to be a part of one? Feel free to download our Marketing Salary Guide to help you build the perfect search team!

If you’re in need of digital marketing services, we also offer a wide range of digital marketing services and digital marketing services for staffing agencies.

–> For instant access to Versique’s blogs, great career how-to articles, and industry trends, follow us on Twitter at @Versique and on LinkedIn!

Photo by Luis Llerena, courtesy of




Other Posts by the Author

Leave a Reply