What’s the Difference Between SEO, SEM, and SMM?

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In today’s face-paced interactive online world, marketing on the web is increasing in popularity all the time. More and more marketing dollars are being spent in online platforms than ever before. In order to keep up with these trends, it may be a good idea to look into online marketing initiatives rather than other traditional methods. This begs the question: what kind of internet marketing strategies should you employ? What’s the difference between SEO, SEM and SMM, anyways?

SEO or Search Engine Optimization

If you aren’t very web-savvy, contact a web marketing company to ask for their suggestions and input.  SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing your website for certain keywords and key phrases so that your site ranks well within the search engines when someone looks up those keywords. There are many other steps to this process, including off-page optimization and link building, which any SEO company could explain in more depth.   Overall SEO is one of the more time-consuming marketing methods online and takes anywhere from 6-8 months to begin ranking a new site for a decent keyword, something you should explain to your clients before taking on new business.


SEM or Search Engine Marketing

SEM, or search engine marketing, are paid advertisements that show up in a highlighted box at the top of the page when a user conducts a search.   Often times these are called PPC ads because the platform charges you per click.  In essence you pay for every click generated from the Search Engine and that traffic will go directly to your website so it is essential to have a quality web design in place to attract potential customers and get the most bang for your buck.

SEM marketing can involve more than just PPC ads, there are PPV (Pay-per-view) as well as content network ads often referred to as “Display” network ads.  These ads will be much cheaper but you will have access to must wider target audience with potentially better conversion rates as you wont be paying nearly as much as your would for PPC ads.

SMM or Social Media Marketing

SMM stands for social media marketing, and could be anything from paid Facebook advertisements to Twitter promotions, but basically involves an internet marketing company telling you how to best leverage your social media platforms for advertising purposes.

This is only a brief description of these services, but if you’re interested in online marketing, be sure to talk to some internet marketing professionals—they’ll be able to explain in more detail and find the solution that best suits the needs of your business.

Lorne Fade is an Internet search marketer for 9th sphere a local Toronto SEO, web design & marketing firm.

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1 Comment

  • Although organic SEO takes longer to show results, in the end it will be less costly and you will establish a search credibility that you might not establish with PPC. When it comes to choosing the best tactic, it is important to evaluate your specific needs, but be sure to fully understand the differences and how you will maintain your efforts. Check out Revenue River’s free guide for how SEO how-to.

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