We are asked all the time: What is the difference between SEO and Digital Marketing? Truthfully, that is not an easy answer to give. The definitions of SEO and Digital Marketing change on a regular basis, which makes defining the difference not an easy task.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Historically SEO meant to have your website rank well in Google and other search engines for keywords that are important for your business. For instance, if you own a car dealership that sell brand new Fords, you would want your website to be found for search terms such as “buy a new ford” or “ford cars for sale”. If your website were to rank well for those search terms, upon end users putting those terms in Google or other search engines, your site would come up, thus you would get that traffic. Historically that was all an SEO Company did.
How is SEO Done?
SEO is completed in a variety of ways. There are many ways SEO techniques used to drive traffic. To cover a few, a good SEO company will look over your websites structure to insure that it is Search Engine friendly. Another common technique is to create back-links to your website using specific anchor tags. Onsite SEO is where the specific webpage or blog post is optimized for Search Engine Optimization. For instance, they may use specific keywords, use best practices for headers and create topic specific meta titles and meta descriptions. Needless to say, SEO can become very complicated and this is only covering some of the most basic techniques.
Evolution of SEO
As previously stated, SEO was initially simply driving the traffic to your website. Over time, SEO’s have expanded their skill-set to include:
Tweaking the website to entice the end user to convert. This may be to give their personal information, buy something or whatever the goal of the site is.
Creating new and fresh content that attracts new users to the site. This may be a new webpage, blog, whitepaper or product review.
Social Media Marketing
Using Social Media Platforms to generate traffic. This may be done in the form of paid advertising or posting of unique content.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Using Google Ad Words or another Pay Per Click campaign to drive paid traffic to the website.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing is the holistic marketing process of being online. Here is Wiki’s definition of Digital Marketing. Digital Marketing encompasses everything mentioned above but could ad additional marketing techniques such as:
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Marketing
Having a major influencer refer to your website or blog on their website, blog or social media
Just what it sounds like. Having content automatically generated
Using a variety of marketing channels for one specific purpose such as selling a specific product
The marketing of an e-commerce site.
Social Media Marketing
e-mail Direct Marketing
Using mass e-mails to drive traffic and sales
Running advertising campaigns on peripheral websites that would contain your customer base
Content creation of a downloadable book that sells your product or service
and any marketing that my utilize other forms of digital media
So Whats the Difference Already?
Well, if you were to go by the historical definition of what SEO is, you could say that SEO is one part of Digital Marketing. The truth is, if you speak to many SEO Companies today, you will quickly find that they perform most of the tasks laid out under Digital Marketing. Since SEO is an ever-changing and pretty technical industry, any SEO firm that has been around for a while has had to adapt and change. They may have started specifically in SEO buy as the world changed so did they. Although most SEO businesses may market themselves as an SEO company, they will be able to provide a variety of Digital Marketing Services. The real question is where is there strong suite? Just because someone claims to be able to run social media campaigns doesn’t mean they have a lot of experience in that field.
With technology advancing at lightning rates, for any SEO company to survive requires them to be proficient in converting users on the website and a variety of ways to get people to the website. Simply having someone rank well for certain keywords doesn’t put money in their clients pockets—-having people buy their goods or services does. In many instances, their target customer may be more apt to be on social media or more willing to click on an e-mail campaign. In today’s word, and SEO Company should provide the same services as a Digital Marketing Company. What you will find is that they may still market themselves as a Search Engine Optimization company specifically because those keywords attract more customers!