Which is Best for My Business?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are terms that many business owners often interchange. As an SEM agency in Singapore, we will clarify the differences between the terms, identify the defining features, and determine which one is best for your business.
Search Engine Optimization in Digital Marketing

What is SEO And SEM In Digital Marketing?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the use of keywords in website content with the purpose of being placed at the top of search engine results pages (SERP). Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the use of paid ads that will also appear in SERPs.
Both of them are part of the digital marketing process, so the top SEO experts in Singapore would also be able to help you formulate an SEM strategy.

Similarities of Purpose

Both SEO and SEM deal with SERPs emphasizing the importance of the search engine in any internet or online marketing effort. SEO experts and SEM agencies will instruct you to comply with the ever-changing algorithms as it always plays a part in both SEO and SEM.
Since they are both marketing tools, the aim of brand awareness and increased traffic holds. However, there are very notable differences in their approach.



When you consult an SEO agency, they will formulate your digital marketing strategy and continue to track performance metrics, evaluate, and revise. However, the actual implementation of your SEO procedure is free of charge.
The investment involved in SEO deals more with content management and web development. Compliance with SEO factors such as keyword selection and frequency, page loading speed, and user experience play determine how optimized your site is. The more optimized your score is, the better it will position in SERPs and eventually produce higher organic traffic.
SEM deals with paid ads on the SERPs that you can place by winning an auction. These auctions are very specific and it is based on keywords as well. The factors to win the bid also includes the ad’s quality score, so the SEM agency should also implement proper content management.


The turnaround time for results in SEM is much faster and measurable since the ads can contain direct links to a website or a call to action. This is why SEM can be quantified in cost-per-clicks since Google and other search engines can track the results.
Since SEO is generating organic traffic through improvements in SEO positioning, it takes more time before it can generate traffic. However, SEO will continue to bring in visitors as long as you maintain your SERP positioning, even when you have mounted a different campaign. In contrast, a paid ad under SEM will no longer be visible after the campaign ends.

Which is Better for Your Business?

SEO and SEM are not exclusive, and the digital marketing experts maintain that your business actually needs both in order to thrive. They both have the same purpose of utilizing search engines and use the same fundamental building block in keywords.
Many top SEO agencies will work on familiarizing with keywords, so SEO will always be a part of any online business. SEO is a way of life for business, so it will always be practiced. The basics of keyword use and quality content are the foundations of any website, without exception.
Now, it is up to the business owners on whether they would be willing to wait for the seeds of SEO to flourish. If you want faster results, then the SEM agency can work on the bidding. Many businesses would want the immediate visibility and fast turnaround of SEM, but since you are using keywords, it is already employing SEO practices.
You can focus on optimized and immediate brand awareness through SEM paid ads, and use the keywords to produce quality content. If you already have a pool of content writers and producers, then your SEO could start alongside your SEM campaign. Building a strong network of backlinks and establishing social media presence will solidify the initial rapport from the SEM campaign.

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