SEO Marketing: Real Benefits of SEO, SEA and SMO

banniere - SEO

SEO marketing or internet referencing is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on the presence of your website in search results on search engines or online directories.

It is useful for creating your digital strategy because when you understand how it works, you can use different tactics to boost your visibility (or your level of appearance) in the search results of your users or customers. However, internet referencing goes far beyond websites or web pages. Any media or text content or places, applications and products can be referenced.

You will also notice that there are different acronyms or expressions related to SEO: SEO, natural or organic SEO, SEA, paid or sponsored SEO, SMO, optimization of social media or EMS.

Behind these scary acronyms lie the basics of vital marketing for the success of your online presence. This article will help you find your way around by showing you the differences, usefulness, benefits and limitations associated with each of these web activities.

What is SEO or natural referencing?

Let's start with the most obvious for everyone, namely SEO. In English, Search Engine Optimization or search engine optimization, SEO includes all activities aimed at increasing the visibility of a website in the natural (or organic) results of search engines. We still talk about natural referencing or organic referencing on search engines.


  1. Operation

    The work of natural referencing is done by the algorithms of search engines like Google, which will classify the results of queries launched by Internet users from the first page (the most relevant) to the last page (the least relevant) based on certain positioning criteria.

    The success of your natural referencing strategy will therefore have to take into account certain essential actions:

    • Technically optimize the quality of your website code so that it can be easily read by search engines like Google;
    • Structure the content of the site according to Web standards (consistency, regularity, reputation, etc.) so that they correspond to the searches of Internet users;
    • Create external links (netlinking) through the content of the site in order to increase its popularity.
    • But above all the user experience on your site. If your page meets the expectations of your visitor, that he continues to visit your site and takes action (comment, contact, sharing), this visit will improve the perception of this content in the eyes of search engines and will gain SEO strength.

It is therefore more about respecting the recommendations of search engines (you are in SEO White Hat) rather than being focused on the need to be visible by stressing algorithms (SEO Black Hat) at the risk of being done. penalize by the engines.

  1. Benefits of SEO
    • Makes in the medium and long term free traffic or at a more or less reduced cost.
    • Maintain continuous long-term quality traffic even without increasing SEO efforts, provided that the site retains its strategic keywords and makes sure to comply with the guidelines of the engines
    • Ensures the reliability of your website because it is well classified by Google SEO or engines, which inspires confidence in Internet users
    • Fosters an environment for continuous improvement of the overall quality of the site
  2. Limits of SEO

    This practice requires consenting your efforts to animate the site with frequent content and your SEO efforts in the long term: arm yourself with patience and perseverance. In addition, SEO does not offer a guarantee of ranking on the first page of results since many sites are in this organic niche and this also does not offer a guarantee of maintaining positioning over time because the algorithms of Google are scalable and updated frequently.

What is SEA or paid referencing?

Faced with the limits of SEO marketing, other marketers prefer SEA, SEA for Search Engine Advertizing or search engine advertising. The SEA will include all activities aimed at displaying advertisements in search engine results and on affiliate sites, through the purchase of advertising space.

We then talk about paid referencing or sponsored links or Search. SEA seems close to SEO but its practices do not meet the same rules and needs.


  1. Operation

    Paid referencing operates on a keyword auction system. You can choose to pay for your keyword bid at cost-per-click CPC, based on compensation for the number of clicks on the ad, or cost-per-thousand CPM for 1,000 views or ad views. The most popular tool for this strategy is Google Ads for Google, but there is for all search engines like Bing Ads for Bing.

    So, following requests from a user, what will prompt the system to display your advertisement before that of your competitors or not? This will obviously be the amount of your bid: the higher it is for the keyword (s) you target, the greater will be the probability of your sponsored link appearing.

    But still, several other quality criteria are taken into account for the positioning and the cost of your click. Optimizing this niche is a constant task of monitoring and adjusting.


  2. Benefits of SEA
    • Guarantees the appearance of content and without delay as soon as the campaign is launched, provided that your bid on target keyword (s) is substantial
    • Expands visibility beyond search engines due to AdSense advertising program which integrates Adwords
    • Quick and easy return on investment (ROI) assessment
  3. SEA limitations

    One of the limits of using SEA is the need to finance the advertising campaign each time to maintain SEA traffic. In addition, the stiff competition between several advertisers and the company risks developing a dependence on advertising agencies

What is SMO or social referencing?

SMO or Social Media Optimization includes all activities aimed at increasing the visibility of an entity through social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, etc.) .

In other words, we can talk about SEO on social networks or social SEO, or even VSEO video SEO for a platform like YouTube.



  1. Operation

    It is undeniable that social networks today increase the visibility of brands on the Internet, thus constituting a real lever of traffic acquisition for your website.

    An SMO strategy is deployed in two stages:

    • First, the creation of shareable content, usually from your website, or other public platforms.
    • And the addition of social media buttons to facilitate sharing by the entity and its users.

    You thus use the channel of social networks relevant to your target in order to disseminate and promote content from your site. In doing so, traffic will come from the interactions and virality generated by sharing or promoting your content.

  2. Benefits of SMO
    • Boosts visibility and traffic on the Web, even organic SEO if the content shared on social networks goes viral
    • Improves the online reputation of your brand or site in connection with the opinions left by Internet users and the vitality of your communities
  3. Limits of the SMO

    The SMO tends to be limited to certain sectors or niches. In addition, the practice tends towards the need to frequently finance advertising campaigns at the risk that your content does not reach your targets. Finally, you have to be very careful because the practice can elevate you and destroy your reputation at the slightest bad buzz. Where we will enter into reputation management.

SEM, a combination of the three?

Finally, you have the SEM for Search Engine Marketing or Search Engine Marketing. It brings together all of the activities aimed at increasing the visibility of a website or entity on the Web. It therefore includes all activities that affect search engines and social networks.

In practice, SEM is an integrated strategy where both:

  • You target the information research intentions of the Internet user to anticipate structured and optimized information content;
  • You anticipate commercial or transactional research intentions to sponsor links on keywords to display;

You bet on the profiling of social networks like Facebook, to reach the ideal customer profile according to geographic criteria, age, gender etc. This is what we call an optimal SEO strategy. It is a real source of Internet traffic because of its targeting and its specificity.

To conclude,

Internet SEO exposes you to different strategies, some in the search engine register (SEO, SEA) and others in the social network register (SMO, VSEO). Be aware, however, that many SEO guarantees are false promises. One of the ways to take advantage of these different practices is to integrate them into the register of search engine marketing by leveraging natural referencing reinforced by other approaches. But before embarking on such a project, it is necessary to carry out an SEO technical audit consisting in analyzing and defining the axes of improvement, as well as the obstacles to the natural referencing of your website with a view to better positioning in search engines.

Do not hesitate to ask us to take your natural referencing from point A to point B.