SEO vs SMO: Two Powerful Digital Marketing Tools

Lauren Stark

Digital marketing is all about brand awareness and creating a highly visible online presence. Usually, in order for new customers to find your business online, they must either spot it when searching (if it ranks highly in the search engine results) or find you through a person/website’s recommendation. SEO and SMO are both tools that can help you with generating traffic to your website in these ways. 

What is SEO? 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing strategy that aims to bring more people to your website the first way, by improving your search engine rankings. This strategy ranges from developing content that is search friendly to changing technical aspects of your website to best match search engine algorithms and to improve user experience. SMO which we will discuss in depth below can be one part of SEO but it also contributes to your online traffic by building brand awareness.

What is SMO? 

Social media optimization (SMO) is another online marketing strategy that focuses on developing your business’s social presence on traditional social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, and Youtube. But SMO also focuses on enhancing your company’s presence and online reputation through a variety of other interactive communities like blogs, forums, and basically anywhere your business is brought up online. 

SMO can help you strengthen your brand and boost online visibility and brand familiarity. Another major benefit is that optimizing your social media builds trust for your business because consumers will see you not only mentioned but recommended by others. When they see your business recommended this creates social proof that builds their trust and customer loyalty even further. 

The Right and Wrong Way to SMO 

SMO is not about joining every possible online group just for the sake of mentioning your business. The number of Facebook or Linkedin Groups your company joins is less important than the impact of your company page on other users, potential customers. In fact, just joining a bunch of groups and then remaining inactive lacks authenticity, is not interactive, and is mostly counterproductive for SMO and SEO. Instead focus on engaging with relevant social audiences, contributing to conversations, and posting relevant and authoritative content for your industry. This way you can use social media to make a lasting impression and connection with your target audience and convert them into leads and customers.

Comparisons and Similarities of SEO and SMO

SEO and SMO are both cost-effective ways to gain new customers and build brand awareness and there are many techniques that they share. Link building is important for SEO because backlinks increase search ranking. Meanwhile, good SMO produces backlinks as customers share recommendations and information about a given brand/website. In addition, both strategies require high-quality content that is trusted by search engines and holds the attention of online readers. 

Social Media Optimization and Search Engine Algorithms: Why You Need SMO for SEO 

Social shares are more important in calculating rankings because they communicate the reliability and value of the shared content to search engines. This originated with the Hummingbird Google Algorithm update and continues to be relevant to good SEO today.  Google values quality content that is relevant, authoritative, and shareable. So the more your content has been shared across social media, the higher its perceived quality. This will lead to better rankings! 


SEO and SMO are related digital marketing strategies that work together to improve the online presence and they contribute to each other. SMO helps provide inbound links as customers share their recommendations, feedback, and thoughts about a company on social forums. In addition, SMO allows you to develop stronger customer relationships with users who found your website through search. In this way, the two strategies positively interact to help grow your customer base and business!

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Lauren Stark

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