The three most important terms that you just cannot ignore if you are in business are — SEO, SEM and SMO. These are the most critical terms in the online marketing world.

  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization
  • SEM – Search Engine Marketing
  • SMO – Social Media Optimization

These three are not only for the well-established or big companies, but for the incubators, start-ups and SME’s as well. Online marketing is all about visibility and awareness. And these are used to optimise your business’ online presence. Following are the three ways through which your customers will find you:

  • Someone already knows your company and is looking specifically for you
  • Another person or company or website recommend someone, and he/she finds you by following a link
  • Your company is found through searching

Most of us use the internet to search about various things and do not have any company’s or website’s name on the mind in particular. That is where your company needs to be because that is the thumb rule of marketing – “Be there, where your customers are.”

So, let’s look at how SEO, SEM and SMO come into play in creating your brand image online.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Definition by Google, the king of search engine, “Improving a website’s presence in organic search engine results.” – online marketing vocabulary, Learn with Google.

Doesn’t it sound very simple? However, let’s look into its details. Search Engine Optimization is an on-going process of enhancing your website’s visibility to your online audience on Search Engines like Google, Bing, etc. In other words, the method of enhancing the ability of your site to be listed on the initial pages of organic search results.

The process includes creating fresh, quality and relevant content for your website visitors and then building quality links from related sites to redirect to that specific content. There are a lot of other work involved in the process of optimising your website for search engines but sticking to the basic rule of writing superior content and building quality links always take the front seat.

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

You must have heard people using the terms Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing interchangeably. Well, these two terms have a very close origin and once had a very close meaning too. However, these are different from each other.

Google’s Definition of Search Engine Marketing, “The use of online advertising on search engine results pages to help visitors find your website. SEM often uses pay-per-click (PPC), a bidding model that charges advertisers only when someone clicks on their ad (also referred to as cost-per-click, or CPC).” – online marketing vocabulary, Learn with Google.

So, with the definition, it is clear that SEM is all about paid advertisements like AdWords, Yahoo Ads, Bing Ads and more. Marketing on Search Engines involves the creation of campaigns, setting a budget and measuring its results. You can expect immediate effects on the investment. It is the fastest way to get your website on the first page of search results, but it is there only till the time the campaign is running. Search engine mentions it as “Sponsored Ad”, and it appears on the top, bottom or the side of the organic search results.

What is Social Media Optimization (SMO)? 

SMO is the use of many social media platforms and communities to generate publicity to increase the awareness of an event, a service or a product. Its activities help you grow your visibility on various social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, video sharing websites, blogging sites, etc. It helps you to direct traffic to your website or blog. Social Media makes it easier for your audience to share your content with their circle of influence, help search engine index your content and build communities.

So, for Social Media Optimization, you need to create your company’s profile on Social Networking Platforms to be able to share your website or blog’s content. You can also add Social Media share buttons on your website/blog for your visitors to be able to share your content easily.

Well, you must have also heard the term SMM. SMM is Social Media Marketing, and like Search Engine Marketing, it involves paid advertising on Social Media Network and helps you get immediate results.

So, which is right for your business

By now you that SEO and SMO are methods for generating organic results and can be implemented by yourself. However, SEM and SMM requires you to create campaigns and set budget. The results from SEM and SMM are fast but are restricted to the budget allocated to the particular campaign. If done correctly, SEO and SMO may drive more long-term results and can give continuous desired outcome for your business using the organic approach.

In the Online Marketing world, no one size fits all. The right method for you depends on your business goals and budget. And now that you know all the terms, you can make an informed decision for your business.