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SEO, SEM, SEA, SMM, PPC – What Does It Mean?

SEO, SEM, SEA, SMM, PPC – the list can be made long. What do all these abbreviations mean?

In this post, we go through what the abbreviations stand for and what they mean.

SEO, SEM, SEA, SMM, PPC – What do all these abbreviations mean?

  • SEO = Search Engine Optimization
  • SEM = Search Engine Marketing
  • SEA = Search Engine Advertising
  • SMM = Social Media Marketing
  • PPC = Pay Per Click

If you work in search engine optimisation, marketing or the like, you probably know some or all of these abbreviations. This post is for you who are new to the market or just want to know what these abbreviations mean because they appear often on the web.

What is SEO?

SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization.

In short, search engine optimization is about optimising, for example, your website with different methods and techniques. This is to be able to appear higher in the search results of Google or other search engines. Today, there are more than 200 ranking factors that Google uses when ranking various websites.

What is SEM?

SEM is an abbreviation for Search Engine Marketing

SEM is about paid marketing and is a form of internet marketing. This means increasing the visibility of websites in the search results through paid advertising such as PPC and SMM.

Google Ads is commonly used in this form of marketing and advertising.

The difference between SEO and SEM

What is the difference between SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing)?

SEM is a broader area that can also include SEO. SEO and search engine optimization is about ranking higher in the organic (unpaid) search results. SEM and search engine marketing is instead about the paid search results.

What is SEA?

SEA is an abbreviation for Search Engine Advertising. This is a method of placing online ads on websites that show results from queries in search engines like Google.

SEA and search engine advertising are largely about advertising through Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords). SEM, as we mentioned earlier, is briefly about everything that has to do with paid marketing in search engines. Both SEA and SEO are part of SEM, SEO + SEA = SEM.

What is SMM?

What then is SMM? SMM is an abbreviation for Social Media Marketing and is about marketing via social media. SMM focuses on creating added value for followers and customers via platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, among others.

What does SMO mean then?

SMO is an abbreviation for Social Media Optimization and is about optimizing for social media. This is one of the most important parts of SMM.

What is PPC?

A form of online advertising where an advertiser will pay when potential customers click on an ad directed to the website about the advertiser. An example of a pay per click marketing platform is Adwords from Google. Basically, it pays for traffic rather than earning it organically through better search rankings for your site or by doing some form of content marketing.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Pay per click advertising is a preferred method of increasing your conversion rate, although it is obviously not as cheap as using other traditional organic means and SEO processes. A pay-per-click campaign should be studied very carefully to ensure that clicks that send people to your site will result in sales and not just fake traffic. That said, an effective PPC campaign, one that has a positive ROI, can quickly increase the customer base for a new or existing e-commerce site.

There is quite a lot that goes into creating an effective and profitable PPC advertising campaign. This starts with knowledge of the industry in general and depends on choosing the appropriate keywords, grouping them logically, writing ads that encourage the click and setting up landing pages that convert well. This can go wrong at any stage, but those who get it right can be rewarded by the search engines with significantly less for ad clicks and higher positions in the ad results on the SERP. This makes it even easier to create a profitable campaign, so it’s worth learning PPC techniques and getting it right from the start.

SEO, SEM, SEA, SMM, PPC – Summary

Now you know what the abbreviations SEO, SEM, SEA, SMM and PPC stand for and a little briefly what they mean. You do not need to keep track of all of these, but it can be good to know them when you order from your agency or partners, for example.


As Australia’s premier digital marketing agency, GK Web Agency has a reputation for delivering marketing that works. We make the web with an team of digital marketing experts. So if you’re looking to grow your business with a stellar marketing strategy, reach out to us! We’d love to chat with you about how we can take your marketing to the next level.

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