SEO vs SEM vs SMM: Which One is Best for Your Business?

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): It deals with a website’s ranking on a Search Engine Result Page (SERP). The technique of SEO is to improve the search engine rankings of a website, give it more visibility and hence, more traffic.

The technique involves optimizing the website, adding keywords in the Title, Meta tags, content and Meta description, frequently updating a website and increasing the speed at which it loads on a desktop and mobile device.

Search Engine Optimization

This means that if your website is optimized according to the SEO techniques, the chances that your website will appear on the first and second position in SERP for search queries related to your work is very high!

The different SEO techniques that you can use to optimize your website are as follows

On Page Optimisation: The first thing you can do on a web page is to optimize it for keywords. For example, you can include a particular keyword at a density ratio of 2-3% in your web page, you can also use that keyword in the file name, the title of the page, the Meta description, along with using the keyword in the title of the page.

Off Page Optimization: This kind of optimization can be done by getting backlinks from other relevant websites. For example, you can optimize your page by seeking one-way backlinks from websites with a higher ranking, and to make sure that the link includes your keyword in the anchor text. This would bring not only quality backlinks but chances of higher ranking.

Black Hat SEO Technique: This technique uses strategies that get higher rankings, however, as the name suggests these techniques are unethical and not appreciated by popular search engines. The Black Hat SEO techniques include using break search engine regulations, offer a bad user experience, and present content in not so visual a manner. These techniques work in the beginning, but websites tend to get banned for them. So, it is better to stir away from them completely.

White Hat SEO Techniques: The exact opposite of Black Hat SEO technique is White Hat SEO technique since it is ethical and abides by all the rules Google sets from time to time for Search Engine Optimization. This technique which involves optimizing the websites according to the set rules, like making the website keeping in focus user experience, increasing the loading speed of websites by removing unnecessary advertisements and making web pages responsive, along with following other guidelines. This technique takes time but has far greater benefits than Black Hat SEO technique will ever have.


SMO (Social Media Optimization)

social media optimization

It means developing profiles on social media networks about your business/website such that members of that network can view and share your profile/page with others. For example, you have a blog, the best way to promote it is to create a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn profile and share relevant information with people that may be interested in your work. This can work as a gateway to acquire a large audience and generate traffic to your website without spending a penny. All you need to do is choose the right social media channel for your business/website and follow some good set of guidelines to promote that.


SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

search engine marketing

Closely associated with SEO, SEM can simply be defined as using paid search engine traffic to gain visibility. Paid results tend to appear on the top right-hand side of the ‘organic’ search results. The largest platforms for using SEM are Google, AdWords, Yahoo!, Microsoft adCenter and Search Marketing.

SEM has a lot of features and tools that have been developed by ad platform creators for webmasters. If you wish to enter the field of paid traffic, you need to consider all keywords associated with it, such as geographic location, Click Through Rates (CTR), Cost Per Click (CPC), advertisement copy and may other factors.

PPC, or pay per click, is one of the major techniques of SEM to drive in traffic. When a PPC campaign is launched you don’t have to wait for days to see the results, because they happen almost immediately. When SEO vs SEM are compared, with SEO you are at the mercy of search engine algorithms and updates, PPC, a feature of SEM gives you more control. It works quickly and brings in a lot of traffic that not just increases visibility, but allows you to customize your ads on the basis of geographic location, time of day and your budget. However, it can be risky, if not used in an optimum manner, and without keeping a short-term and long-term plan in mind, because the moment you stop your PPC campaign, you may not get as many hits.


SMM (Social Media Marketing)

Social media marketing

It means promoting a channel through social media channels. It gives you a chance to tap into a huge social media community available on several channels. It tends to also include ‘Paid Social Search’ or paid advertising on social media channels. Although paid social search is similar to SEM, it adds behavioral tendency into the search equation. The major part of the advertising is, however, the same as SEM, where an advertiser only pays when a user clicks on his or her advertisement.


A Gist of SEO vs SEM vs SMO vs SMM

Traffic Organic Paid Organic Paid
Benefits Long-term Short-term Long-term Short-term
Optimization via Sharing relevant information Keywords, and optimized web pages Visual appeal, and relevant information Visually attractive advertisements
Platforms Facebook. Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines Facebook. Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat

12 thoughts on “SEO vs SEM vs SMM: Which One is Best for Your Business?

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