What Is The Difference Between SEO, PPC, And SMM? Semalt Answers

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • What is SEO?
  • What is PPC?
  • What is SMM?
  • Benefits of using SEO
  • Benefits of using PPC
  • Benefits of using SMM
  • Conclusion


The internet has greatly redefined the concept of marketing. Long gone are the days of making unsolicited visits or telephone calls in a desperate attempt to sell your goods or services. With the coming of digital marketing strategies such as PPC, SEO, and SMM, you can create more awareness for your business and generate more sales simply by using these tools to attract more traffic to your websites and social media pages. 

At Semalt, we use digital marketing tools like SEO, PPC, and SMM to create a strong marketing campaign that translates into more sales for your business. One of the questions we are often asked is, "what is the difference between SEO, PPC, and SMM?" In this article, we present a comprehensive guide to understanding the meaning of SEO, PPC, and SMM and the benefits of using these digital marketing tools.

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. It is a digital marketing tool that increases the traffic to a website by making the website more visible to users of a web search engine. 

It is the process of optimizing a website to get un-paid traffic from the search engine result page. In simple terms, you adhere to some Google rules to make your website rank higher and increase your website's chances listed on Google result page for particular keyword searches.

What is PPC?

PPC is an acronym for Pay Per Click. It is a digital marketing tool that uses search engine advertising to generate traffic to your website. Anytime your ad is clicked, you pay the search engine a certain fee; this is why it's called pay per click. 

In other words, instead of trying to generate traffic to your website yourself, you buy the traffic by paying for every traffic the search engine directs to your website.

What is SMM?

Fully known as social media marketing, SMM is a digital marketing tool that uses social media platforms to increase traffic to a website, promote a product or service, and increase sales. 

Companies that use social media marketing can attract new customers, engage with existing customers, and tailor their marketing campaign message to what is most likely to resonate with users. 

From the above definitions, it is clear that it will be almost impossible to generate traffic to your website without using these digital marketing tools. You cannot have a strong website marketing plan without an SEO component. If you just created a new website or you are looking for a way to generate traffic for an existing website, you might be wondering which of these digital marketing tools will be your best bet. To help make this decision easier, we will examine the benefits of using SEO, PPC, and SMM to promote your business.

 Benefits of using SEO

  • It drives quality traffic to your website: this is why most marketers use SEO as a marketing tool. Unlike traditional marketing, where you have to pay for a billboard or TV ad and hope that your target audience sees it, with SEO, you are sure that your target audience will see your website in search results. 

    You also have the benefit of having the full attention of your audience, unlike traditional advertising, where you reach out to customers whether they are ready to hear your advert message or not. SEO makes it possible for your advert message to reach your audience when they need it, as your website will only appear in the result page of searches related to what you have to offer. Hence, they are more likely to respond positively to your call to action.
  • It increases your credibility: when users see your website listed on the first page of their search results, they believe that your website must be credible for the search engine to rank you high. When most users search for a particular product or service on Google or any other search engine, they don't bother to go beyond the first page because they believe that the most important information is displayed on the first page. Therefore, ranking on the first page of a search result signals to users that your website is safe and credible. 
  • It is cost-effective: another good thing about SEO is that you don't have to pay for ads when using SEO. All you have to do is improve your website to rank higher on Google's organic ranking. When you have a page that the search engine ranks high enough to direct its users to, you can rest assured that it will keep directing traffic to your site long after you published content.

    However, improving your website to make it rank higher and appear on the search engine result page requires expert knowledge of the ever-changing search engine algorithms. This is why it is to seek professionals like Semalt to help you improve your websites and make it rank higher to generate more traffic to your site.
  • It helps you stay ahead of the competition:  using SEO will help you gain a competitive advantage over other competing brands. This is because SEO generates more leads, sales, and market share for your business by sending quality traffic to your website. When your target audience views your product or service on the result page of a search engine, they automatically have the feeling that it must be unique and credible. This will make them choose your brand over other brands offering the same service. 
  • It helps you measure the impact of your investment easily: using SEO helps you measure the success of your marketing strategies. You can use Google Analytics to evaluate the success of your SEO strategies.

    This is one great advantage of using SEO, with traditional marketing tools, measuring success can be a bit complicated. However, using SEO, you can easily use metrics like website traffic, bounce rate, conversions, and time-on-site to monitor your SEO strategies' impact.

Benefits of Using PPC

  • It gives your website maximum visibility: this is an important factor in marketing. The more visible your business is to your target audience, the more sales you are likely to generate. Using PPC as a digital marketing tool will enable your business to rank above the regular search result. This means that your target audience will get to see your brand before that of the competition.
  • It increases traffic to your website: just like SEO, PPC generates traffic to your website. Your website will not be useful without any traffic, the only way people can know how wonderful your site is if they visit it. By placing your website at the top of the search engine result page, PPC ensures that you get more clicks on your website.

    When you use have more people visiting your website, it is easier to achieve more sales because you can convert this traffic into actual sales. Besides, you can also make them loyal to your brand if you ensure they have a unique first experience.
  •  It has a wide reach: Almost everyone uses the internet for one reason or another, and billions of people use the search engine daily. PPC gives you the opportunity of getting your advert message across to these people. It ensures that your ad isn't limited by time or location as virtually everyone with access to the internet can view your ad. This can also improve your brand awareness and credibility. 
  • It provides extensive targeting options: while it is true that you can reach Almost everyone with your ad when you use PPC, you don't necessarily have to do that. For instance, if your ad is about women's beauty products, it might not convert much, if only men or children view it. You can use the search engine or social media targeting options available to limit traffic to your site and ensure that only those who are most likely to respond to your ad gets to see it.

Benefits of SMM

  • It allows you to engage your audience: social media marketing will increase your brand's recognition and reputation because it allows you to engage with a broad audience of consumers. When your business has a social media profile, you can interact with your target audience to know what they want, improve your services based on feedback, and give your audience a better experience.   
  • It increases brand awareness: SMM is a powerful tool used by marketers to create and increase brand awareness. Simply by getting your employees or business partners to share your business page, your business is introduced to a network of individuals. If these people are convinced and believe your message, they will not only become potential customers but can also like and share your page on social media groups that they belong to. 
  • It improves customer satisfaction and brand authority: when you respond to comments on your posts, it shows your customers that you are concerned about them, and their opinion matters too. This makes them more loyal to your brand, and they may also tell their friends about your business; this makes your business gain more awareness and authority in the market. 
  • It is cost-effective: SMM is probably the cheapest form of marketing strategies. All you have to do is sign up and create a social media page for your business, and it won't cost you any money to do that. Even if you decide to use a sponsored ad, the cost is relatively lower than other marketing tactics.
However, social media marketing also has several disadvantages. It is time-consuming, and it exposes your business to the risk of negative publicity.  


SEO, PPC, and SMM are different digital marketing tools used to promote a business by driving traffic to the business' website. With the advent of the internet, the business world has become more competitive. It will be impossible to stay ahead of the competition without using a digital marketing tool. 

The major difference between these three acronyms is that while you don't have to pay for traffic directed to your website by SEO, you have to pay for every traffic when using PPC. On the other hand, SMM is limited to social media and can only promote your business on social media platforms.