What is the Difference between SEO and SMM?

June 28, 20230

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SMM (Social Media Marketing) are essential parts of digital marketing, and both aim to increase a given website’s traffic. The primary difference between SEO and SMM is the platform for their services. SEO uses search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc., while SMM uses social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Search Engine Optimization: The SEO technique provides high-quality traffic to specific websites and indexes them at the top of the search engine results. It also helps to improve the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). There are two types of SEO techniques: On-page and Off-Page.

The on-page technique presents friendly navigation, fast loading of a page, mobile-friendly pages, and high-quality content.

Criteria SEO (Search Engine Optimization) SMM (Social Media Marketing)
Primary Objective Improve website ranking in search engine results. Build and engage a community on social media platforms.
Platform Search engines like Google and Bing Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Target Audience Users actively search for information or services. Users browsing social networks may or may not have the intent to buy.
Timeframe Long-term results. It can take months to see significant changes in rankings. It can have immediate results but requires regular engagement.
Content-Type Website content, blogs, articles, infographics. Posts, images, videos, stories, and ads.
Cost Often organic (free), but can involve costs for optimization tools and services. It can be organic or paid (ads, promoted posts).
Key Metrics Organic traffic, click-through rate, keyword rankings. Engagement rate, follower count, shares, and likes.

Top On-page Elements in SEO

  1. Headings: Heading should reflect the accurate page content of any website.
  2. URL structure: A well-crafted URL gives search engines and customers a better understanding of the destination page. Human-readable and semantically accurate URLs will improve the user experience.
  3. Page load time: For a better user experience, a search engine needs a minimum page loading time. Thus, the page should be optimized to rank higher in search engine results.
  4. Page content: Page content should be helpful to the users to receive specific data through the website.
  5. Internal linking and ALT text for images: Internally linking websites with other pages might help visitors and search engines. Including ALT text in images helps blind people understand the images’ content.

Off-page SEO increases a website’s domain authority by getting links from other websites. The more links your website has, the higher your page rank.

Top Off-page Elements in SEO

  1. Backlinks: If the other websites find content effective, they provide a back link to that website, increasing the search engine ranking.
  2. Social media: To develop an online reputation, advertise, or market, it is necessary to be a part of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. For that, websites need to create a profile to interact with people and advertise their brands.
  3. Social bookmarking: To promote the website, social bookmarking websites like Reddit and StumbleUpon are beneficial because the content on these sites is updated frequently.
  4. Review websites: Writing reviews on other businesses and getting reviews on your brands in review sites like RateitAll, and Kaboodle will improve the website’s ranking.

Social Media Marketing: If a company or brand is on social media, it gains more visibility and becomes easier to find.  Nowadays, brands interact with customers on social media to achieve their marketing and branding goals. Social media involves videos and image updates to engage the customer. Social media marketing functions on the social media optimization principle, which means improving the company image on social networks. There are two types of Social Media Marketing promotion:

  1. Active SMM promotion: Active promotion refers to the link addition of any website or brand to the social network.
  2. Passive SMM promotion: Promoting activities like status, blogs, articles, images, or tweets on social media is called Passive SMM promotion, and user experience is considered to resolve problems or dissatisfaction so that brand quality can improve.

Social media marketing helps websites and brands in these aspects:

  1. Increasing website traffic.
  2. Building conversions.
  3. Raising brand awareness.
  4. Creating a brand identity and positive brand association.
  5. Improving communication and interaction with prospective audiences.

Social media traffic differs from SEO-driven natural traffic.

  1. Search engines are used to research and find significant or particular information about a service or product. However, social media is quite different from this, as people do not search for any specific information on social media. Generally, people are mostly engaged in socializing or entertainment on social media. So traffic coming from social media is quick interest in particular content.
  2. Social media visitors need to invest more in particular topics due to the personalization or generalization of social media, while search engine traffic is dedicated to specifics. Decision-making will be easier through search engines rather than social media. People will only get personalized information about any product on social media, while search engines will provide information based on the reviews of that particular product.
  3. The search engine has to provide more information about a business to the traffic, taking more time to result in conversion. At the same time, traffic from social media is already connected with brands or businesses that do not need any introduction about the product or services and will translate into conversion quickly.

SEO is a time-consuming process that includes all search engine updates. On the other hand, SMM uses social media for promotion, which is growing rapidly. SMM is comparatively easier than SEO because creating good content and presenting it to the right customers on social media can help get more business.

Digital Catalyst Group provides excellent SEO services to companies who are operating from Dallas, Texas! Get in touch with us if you require Search Engine Optimization & would like to be prominently visible over the internet.

Difference between SEO and SMM FAQs

What are the main goals of SEO?

The main goals of SEO are to –

  • Improve a website’s visibility in search engines
  • Increase organic traffic
  • Attract relevant visitors searching for a business’s products and services.

What are the main goals of SMM?

The main goals of SMM are to –

  • Build brand awareness
  • Increase social media following
  • Engage with the target audience
  • Drive website traffic
  • Generate leads or sales

How long does it take to see results with SEO?

The time required to see SEO results varies and is based on various factors that include but is not limited to –

  • Competitiveness of the keywords
  • Quality of optimization efforts
  • Authority of the website

It takes 3 months to 1 year to see noticeable improvements and significant results.

How quickly can I expect results with SMM?

SMM can generate quick results when compared to SEO. You can start seeing engagement, increased followers, and website traffic within a week to 1 month. At times it can come within days.


Grayson is a innovative digital marketing enthusiast dedicated to empowering businesses with effective strategies and cutting-edge insights for online success.

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