SEO and SEM: what differentiates them and why it is important to integrate them with each other


The online success of a website depends on a comprehensive strategy that can combine two key components: search engine optimization(SEO) and search engine marketing(SEM). Although these two activities are often presented as distinct, they actually complement and complement each other and, from a certain point of view, one cannot do without the other.


SEO (Search Engine Optimization) consists of the set of actions required to improve the ranking of one’s website organically-that is, not on a paid basis-on search engines (e.g., “search engine optimization “). Google, Bing, Yahoo! etc.). To create the best and most consistent S.E.R.P. (the first page of search engine results) for the user, In fact, the search engine analyzes each website through a series of parameters such as the quality of the content, the use of certain keywords in the domain, URL, titles, and especially within page content.

Having a well-ranked site among search engines is the only way to gain online visibility and thus garner more organic web traffic to your site.

An effective SEO project is structured into two areas of action:

  • On-site SEO: all operations to be performed on the site such as optimization of titles, tags, images and text. Site treeing and structure also affect optimization, so it is important that pages are ordered hierarchically according to content. On-site activities also include the possible-if not absolutely recommended-creation of a Blog: in fact, writing articles in SEO terms can improve the visibility of a domain as well as help to make the brand or company authoritative in the area of interest.
  • Off-site SEO: digital PR activities to get inbound links to one’s site. In fact, one of the parameters that search engines such as Google use to assess the authority and reliability of a site is the number but especially the quality of inbound links it receives. Therefore, included within an SEO project are link building and link reclaiming activities to ensure consistent and valuable links to one’s site, coming out of industry or reputable news domains.


When we talk about SEM(search engine marketing) we refer to the placement in S.E.R.P. of sponsored ads, easily distinguishable by a special label created by the search engine. Ads are displayed by a chosen target audience based on groups of selected keywords (search queries), and the price is set based on a real-time auction with its competitors.

At present, given the high level of online competitiveness in most industries, it is always recommended that periodic paid ad campaigns, perhaps sponsoring particular promotions or news items, be added to a solid and long-lasting SEO activity.


In this field to lead the way is obviously the world’s best-known search engine: Google, which is why we have now almost stopped talking about Search Engine Marketing and directly use the term Google ADS to indicate all activities involving paid ads on this search engine.

The differences between SEO and SEM

In summary, SEO and SEM are two types of complementary digital strategies that, when well balanced and coordinated, can make a difference in a website’s online visibility.

SEO requires a longer time investment, 3 to 12 months, to achieve results: however, they are more durable. Indeed, SEO raises the quality and authority of a site in the eyes of search engines, which will then favor it in terms of rankings.


The SEM, against a variable budget, is instead able to give much faster results in terms of visibility, but continuous investment in adv campaigns is necessary. Unlike SEO, it allows you to Test different types of ads and find the ones that work best for your target audience, also precisely establishing the geographical areas of the users who will view them. It must be said, however, that it is through well-done SEO activities that SEM ads can be more effective and also less impactful in terms of budget.

Both activities, therefore, should be carried out in a continuous and parallel manner to best optimize the characteristics of each.

The process of optimizing corporate website pages is complex and multifaceted; therefore, it is essential to rely on competent professionals who can guarantee concrete results through an effective and transparent work plan. Spada Media Group can count on a team of technical experts in SEO and SEM, able to support clients from the SEO-friendly site restructuring and content production to the creation, planning and management of effective Google ADS campaigns.

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