Difference between SEO, SEM & PPC - Explained Simply 😊

First of all, this is an article for business professionals, entrepreneurs & those who want to grow their business using SEM Services in Malaysia.

Trust me, spending 2 minutes of your time reading will give you a clearer understanding on SEO, SEM & PPC along with how it differs, which will work for your business and more.

Let's begin.

In Malaysia, many businesses are becoming more aware of the ways to get sales leads from the internet or online marketing channels that are widely used like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), social media marketing, email marketing, video advertising and such.

The easy part is differentiating the channels like social media marketing, email marketing and video marketing (YouTube). However, when it comes to PPC & SEO, digital marketing agencies or agents use terms like β€˜SEM’. This can be confusing for some.

SEO SEM PPC Explained


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is focused on optimizing a website in order to get traffic from organic search results. When people key-in terms in the search bar that are related to the service or the products in the search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Baidu, etc), SEO helps bring their business to the front page.

Search Engine Result Page

SEO SEM PPC - Organic Search

Google Malaysia (Market Share / Usability 98.38%)

There are few other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Baidu & other (Usability is less than 0.90%)


Pay Per Click (PPC) is to get traffic by placing ads on an advertisement platform and paying the host of the platform when the ad is clicked.

Paid Search Marketing Page

SEO SEM PPC - Paid Search Image

Google Malaysia (Market Share / Usability 98.38%)

There are few other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Baidu and others (Usability is less than 0.90%)

Advertising Platforms

SEO SEM PPC - Advertisement Platforms
  • Google Display Network(98.38)
  • Facebook (84.00%)
  • Twitter (Usability 5.31%)
  • Pinterest (4.77%)
  • Youtube (2.77%)
  • Instagram (2.67%)

There are few other platforms like Microsoft, Quora, AdRoll, Amazon, Quantcast, BuySellAds, Infolinks, etc, most of these are not used (less than 0.50% in Malaysia)

Now, let's see the difference in layman’s term?

Take fishing for instance.

Paid search is like using your fishing rod and dropping bait in the specific spot with many fishes.

SEO is like dropping a net in the river in an area filled with fishes. Both ways & techniques will get you fishes, right? However, not in the same way.

Paid Search : You get the searchers you want, but you pay for that convenience.

SEO : Technically free, but it takes research and strategy to make sure your net is in the right place and you catch the right kind of fish.

SEO or PPC: Which One to Focus on?


If you have a limited marketing budget and a long term business plan, then you probably want to focus on SEO as it takes 6 to 12 months to gain legit traffic to start rolling in from Google search.

If you are good with articles / business case studies write ups, then you can approach SEO experts to get traffic through informational keywords like β€˜What is XZY’ or β€˜How to XYZβ€˜ or β€˜Case Study On XYZ’.

Request a Free Consultation with our SEO specialist to get it done right at an affordable cost that fits your budget.

PPC / Paid Search

If you have a consistent marketing budget, then you can focus on PPC.

Reach out to our Ads Specialist to run a PPC Campaign. Managing an Ad Campaign may seems easy, however it dries the budget quickly with less conversion, if it is not well optimized.

Your focus is on both to get a variety of fishes?

Then go for SEM!