As well as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) the term SEM comes from English too. It is an abbreviation of a word Search Engine Marketing, in Czech translation - marketing ve vyhledávačích. SEO and SEM are a part of Internet marketing. Their aim is basically the same, to increase the visibility of websites on the Internet. To achieve this aim, however, both these branches use completely different tools. It is therefore not entirely truthful claim that SEO is part of SEM, rather they are two different approaches to increase attendance from various internet sources.

SEO field

The aim of SEO is to optimize pages for search engine algorithms and achieve the best possible positions in natural search results. SEO focuses on increasing the purity and validity of the source code, improving the quality of web content (copywriting) and growth of a number of backlinks leading to the web (linkbuilding, linkbaiting and creating microsites). From this definition it is clear that for successful SEO it is needed to make a number of changes directly on the website.

The costs of SEO can be described as a one-time (subsequent maintenance costs are almost negligible, if the search engine algorithm does not change significantly or the level of competitor´s optimization). Effects that SEO brings, however, are long-term and they help raise the visibility of websites in search engines in the long term.

SEM field

The aim of SEM is also to increase the visibility of websites, but it is achieved through paid advertising systems. Unlike SEO the input costs necessary to use these systems are lower, on the other hand, the campaign maintenance of operation requires a constant supply of funds.

Examples of paid advertising on the Internet used in SEM are PPC systems (Google Adwords, AdSense, Sklik) paid entries in the directories (, TopKontakt), banners, placement in preferential positions in the comparison goods (Hyperzboží) and so on.

The problem of SEM is that it is always dependent on the amount of funds deposited into these systems. Once their flow stops, the campaign will cease to be active and advertising with a link to the website disappears. The effect of these tools is very time-limited, the next logical constraint is displaying ads only in some search engines, directory or on the server.

Benefits of SEM compared to SEO

Unlike the above-described disadvantages, there is, however, several positives of SEM. Firstly it is its quick response to client needs. Once the campaign is set in the system and paid, it is immediately activated and advertising begins to display.

In contrast, in the case of SEO it takes several weeks or even months than the optimization become evident in search results and moreover nobody knows ahead to what extent it will be successful. For newly emerging or unknown companies is SEM one of the best ways how to immediately become visible on the Internet and begin to build general brand awareness.

About the use of SEM it is also appropriate to consider if there is competition for that keyword too high in the search engines, and even excellent SEO cannot ensure that the website will be displayed in the front positions. An example may be a keyword floor on which search engine finds almost 2,6 millions results. For this very common word today is highly inefficient to attempt to optimize the website in such way that it appears on the first page of search results. Inefficiency stems from the fact that the costs of SEO would be higher than expenditure on long-term campaign in PPC system for that keyword.

Another advantage of SEM is that if the measurement system is properly configured (eg Google Analytics), it is possible to get more accurate results regarding the number of visitors, value of orders or the number of conversions than from SEO. To determine which visitor came to the web through made optimization is almost impossible.

Combination of SEO and SEM

SEO and SEM approaches can be, of course, combined, especially for the newly created website. As the results of SEO optimization are visible and a website strengthens its position in search results, it is possible to turn off SEM campaigns, or at least reduce the costs spent on their operation.

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