Here’s another question I saw in a forum this week: what’s the difference between Search Engine Optimisation and Social Marketing, or are they the same thing. Here’s the reply I offered:
They are different things but Social Marketing will help your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts, if you do it properly.
This stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it’s the process of making your site as easy as possible for the search engines to find, to find out what it’s about and to find their way around it. I’ve written some posts explaining in more detail how to do that – see them here
Once they’ve done that and indexed your site, it will then appear in the search results when people type in search terms that the search engines think your site can provide the answer for.
Secondly, Social Marketing
Social Marketing is the process of raising awareness of your site through the many Web 2.0 (social networking) sites that exist. These include sites like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Mashable and a gazillion others.
The idea is that raising awareness of your web site and getting your content shared through the Web 2.0 sites will expose your site to people who might not otherwise have seen it. If they then visit your site and like what they see they may link to it.
If they do link to it, this will benefit the SEO effectiveness of your site because the search engines will see it as an inbound link. And inbound links to your site is one of the criteria that search engines like, because they see inbound links as an indication that the site has valuable information.
That is an extremely high level answer, but I hope it helps a bit!