SEO vs SMO: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

Print media and even cable television are becoming obsolete vessels for delivering content to consumers. We live in a society with computers in our pockets. If we want to know something, we Google it.

For example, if someone’s phone breaks, the first thing they probably do is search online for a solution. They might look up keywords such as: “fix smartphone screen.” This is where search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) come in for businesses.

SEO and SMO are both digital marketing strategies. Their effectiveness comes from utilizing keywords that take advantage of Google’s algorithm. They help to make sure local customers will find what they are looking for. That person looking up how to fix their phone? They are going to see sites with the best SEO and SMO first.

Traditional marketing reaches out to an audience whether or not they want to see it. With search engine optimization and social media optimization, your audience comes to you. SEO and SMO both help with search engine visibility.

Both boost your webpage in the organic Google search links. This can be more effective than landing a spot in the sponsored ads section. Consumers are likely to choose a website listed on the first search page.

If you are not optimizing your business for internet searches, you could be losing potential customers. So how do you make SEO and SMO work for you? First, let’s understand what they’re both all about.

What Is SEO?

What is SEO

Search engines want their users to find the most relevant and trustworthy content.

The algorithms (the process of identifying these sites) are not exactly known. Plus, they change frequently. However, we do know that it picks up high-quality sites using keywords that people are searching for.

Search engine optimization tailors webpages to meet these needs. This is a marketing strategy for businesses and websites. It will help a website to appear on search engines like Google and Bing.

SEO can be broken down into two main subcategories: onsite and offsite SEO.

Onsite SEO

Onsite SEO encompasses search engine optimization tactics incorporated into your business’s website. Some examples of onsite SEO techniques are:

  • Keywords. It is important to understand and analyze what words consumers are using to find products and services. Incorporating these keywords into your website makes it more likely to appear on Google searches. If you are a local business, you may also want to use your location as a keyword.
  • User Experience. Who would you trust? A disorganized site that looks like it was coded in the ’90s or one with a clean look and efficient navigation? The answer is pretty obvious. Sites need to be fast, user-friendly, and look authoritative and trustworthy.
  • Fresh Content. Sites receive higher rankings when they are posting new, relevant content. For example, let’s say you own a nursery. Posting a helpful blog on why plastic surgery is important could lead people to your business’s website.

Offsite SEO

Search engines take into consideration how trustworthy a website is. They measure trust by the number of different sites your business appears as a link on.

With offsite SEO, you want to aim for links on offsite content such as blogs, how-to guides, top 10 lists, and press releases. These will help boost your internet presence and place you higher on Google searches.

It is important to note SEO is not “tricking” search engines into picking up your site. If you litter your website with an excess of keywords, search engines will pick up on this and penalize you. Your website should not just be optimized for search engines but for potential consumers as well.

What Is SMO?

social media marketing

Some argue that social media optimization (SMO) is even more important than SEO. People are constantly viewing and sharing content over social media. It is important not to ignore this fairly new marketing strategy.

SMO Basics

Before choosing the social network, you want to utilize, consider if its audience and tone match your own business.

Posting on Instagram makes sense for marketing a beauty product to young adults. However, it may not make as much sense to reach an older audience searching for retirement homes.

Social media giants like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Yelp all have their own unique audiences and unwritten etiquette rules.

SMO in Digital Marketing

What is SMO in digital marketing?

It’s an important tool for your business. With digital marketing, you need to know that Google takes into heavy consideration how sharable, relatable, and authoritative content is. Having your content shared over social media spreads your link.

This not only helps your search results but also your presence to your target audience over social media.

SMO is not simply spewing your links all over social media. This is not optimization. In fact, it can even be counterproductive to your goal. You need to engage and interact with your audience, especially if you are a local business.

Useful and relatable content is more enticing for consumers to share on their own accord. It increases your visibility on Google and name recognition across social media. Knowing SMO basics can boost your online presence to the next level.

How Do SEO and SMO Work Together?

The difference between SEO and SMO is an important one. However, you might be thinking, “SEO vs SMO, which is better?” 

This isn’t the question you want to ask. The better question would be: “How can I use these together?”

Both forms of optimization aim to bring more traffic, thus business, to your website.

SMO tends to bring success at a faster pace than traditional SEO methods. Social media trends tend to gain traction fast. By the same token, though, they can fade quickly into the recesses of everyone’s memory. SMO tends to follow the same patterns. This is why also incorporating SEO is so important. It may take a bit longer, but it provides more stable and long-lasting success.

SEO alone is effective in improving your visibility on search engines. However, it is hard to incorporate a personal appeal. SMO allows you to put some personality and heart into posts if appropriate for your business.

With SEO, you are optimizing for a search engine algorithm to rank your website. At the same time, you want your website to speak to a human audience.

With SMO, you want your audience to personally connect with your content and share it with their networks.

The differences between SEO and SMO work in synergy with each other. Where one falls short, the other excels. Neglecting SEO or SMO can cause your brand to fail at reaching its target audience.

Some businesses opt for only SMO. This is because SEO tends to be more difficult and requires technical expertise. But remember, while SMO is important, it cannot thrive without SEO.

Luckily, here at Instinct Marketing, we specialize in both. We can help you to harness the power of SEO and SMO together. Our digital marketing team is located in Northern California. Learn more about our SEO and social media management services and schedule a free consultation; contact us today!


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