There’s a war for the highest placement in SERP or search engine result page between SEO (search engine optimization) with SEM (search engine marketing) and what most company leaders don’t know is that these two services are working against each other. Yes, that’s right, many companies mistakenly use the two terms interchangeably that become the main problem.

For those who still doesn’t know what SEO is, that is a practice for optimizing the contents on website, landing page, social media posts, video, and even PDFs, resulting brand, that could be a product, company, service, or client, get the top or high position in search engine result page. For SEM, is a practice with bidding on position or placement of brand in designated page of search engine and/or at their partner sites for advertising and paid inclusion.

To make it simple to understand in business’ view, SEO is free practice and SEM is paid. Most of companies high SEM cost is because they’re doing their SEO poorly, and inconsistent. Even though, SEO practice need money on the process but it’s a fixed cost and didn’t need to worry about how much bidding that needs to do to win competition for the best placement. And many people choose to use SEM because their brand is appear first and highlighted.

Search engine sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing and etc, are giving an option for brand to use free or paid method to get highest position. They will reward brand who follows their search algorithms with high placement. But the reality is that SEM is winning the battle mainly because many brands are ignoring SEO practices. Yes, Google and its search algorithm are hard to understand or follow. It will change unpredictably for 2 reasons. First is because Google wants to improve its customer’s satisfaction and the second is to block all the cheap tricks that SEO practices and webmasters create to cheat Google’s system.

But lately SEM is no difference because gradually search engine marketing becomes more complicated. With Ad Tech that monitoring users browsing habit and showing ads based of what their browsing history. This affecting more companies is adding SEM manager position and less companies creating manager position for SEO. SEM still has influence for business because it aid in ranking by directing more viewers to brand’s site.

Internet browser is also involving in the battle between SEO and SEM. This is has to do with a add ons/plugins/extensions called Adblock as the on top downloaded in most browsers. With it, users can block all the ads easily. But still, not many people use adblock on their browser. And when they do, the battle SEO vs SEM will get heated. Because there will be new SEM results like pay-per-view ads (similar to pay-per-click), and pop-under ads. So right now, companies will regret in the future if they only spending their money in SEM practices and not SEO.