Digital Marketing vs SEO: Which Is Better for Your Business?
Do you get confused between online marketing and search engine optimization (SEO)? A client-oriented Chicago digital marketing agency can explain the differences clearly for you. It can even help you choose the right approach for your business needs.
Because your choice can make or break your brand, you should be able to tell them apart too. This article talks about where they vary:
- Strategies and tactics
We will also show you how to use them together to launch a winnable online marketing campaign. So if you are ready to learn more, read below. Let’s go!
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Digital Marketing vs. SEO: Spot the Differences
The terms “digital marketing” and “SEO” have several similarities, and you can use them to grow your business online. But they do not share the same meaning.
Here is an overview of their differences:
|Definition||Promotion of brands online through various communication channels||Optimization of your website so that its pages appear in the search results|
|Objectives||Conversion of leads to customers to increase revenue, returns, and retention||Generate organic (or free) traffic from search engines|
|Strategies and tactics||Social media, email marketing, paid advertising, mobile marketing, affiliate marketing, and SEO||Content marketing, link building, analytics, technical optimization, mobile optimization, and keyword research|
Let us discuss each.
1. What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the umbrella term for all strategies promoting a brand, product, or service online. These tactics may be paid or free. They are also omnichannel, which means they cover multiple touchpoints. These include emails, social media, paid advertising, mobile marketing, and affiliate outreach.
Because the scope is wider, an excellent digital marketing plan requires:
- Significant spending, which is usually at least 5% of the total business budget
- Clear, relevant, actionable, and measurable marketing objectives
- Financial-related key performance indicators (KPIs), such as returns, conversion rates, customer lifetime values (CLVs), and retention rates
- Smart allocation of limited resources (use analytics to track your campaigns’ successes)
- More intimate knowledge of your target market (e.g., demographics, location, motivations, brand perception, needs, and wants)
2. What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is about increasing your brand’s visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs) through:
|Kinds of SEO||Purpose||Strategies|
|On-page optimization||Optimization of the pages directly (or the ones you have full control over) so that they rank highly in the search results||Keyword research, content structure, visuals (such as images and videos), E-E-A-T guidelines, and topic cluster|
|Off-page optimization||Optimization done outside the website to increase visibility, authority, and popularity||Social media, brand citations through press releases, link building, and blog outreach (e.g., guest posts)|
|Technical optimization||Changes done “behind the scenes” for better indexability, crawlability, security, and user experience (UX)||Site speed optimization, Core Web vitals, fixing of technical errors, site architecture (e.g., XML sitemaps and schema markups), and technical SEO audits|
|Local SEO||Optimization of pages to attract leads in specific locations||Location-based keywords, customer reviews, schema markup to trigger a local map pack, creation of business profiles, and relevant local content|
Unlike digital marketing:
- SEO provides free traffic by appearing in organic results, featured snippets, and knowledge panels.
- It is mainly concerned with ranking in search engines and is more vulnerable to algorithm updates or changes.
- It focuses mainly on your website’s content, structure, and user experience.
But because SEO’s core purpose is raising brand awareness to attract a market, we can consider it another digital marketing tactic.
Which Is Better between SEO and Digital Marketing?
A reliable Chicago digital marketing agency can effectively combine both to give your campaigns the best shot at hitting (or surpassing) your business goals. But if you should prioritize, use these guidelines:
- If you want immediate results: Start with digital marketing, particularly paid to advertise. PPC ads, for example, can appear within minutes. You can also create faster engagement with social media posts. Usually, it takes around six months to see significant SEO results.
- If you want to reduce your advertising budget in the long term: One of the best digital marketing solutions is complementing paid promotions with SEO. Although it takes some time to see results, it provides free traffic.
- If you want to retain customers: Use email marketing to foster relationships and loyalty from existing customers. You can also segment your audiences and personalize your content to their demographics, needs, and preferences.
- If resources are severely limited: Begin with SEO. You can invest in artificial intelligence to automate processes, such as keyword research and content optimization. As mentioned, it creates free traffic. You can then pair this with social media marketing.
- If you want to build brand authority: Strengthen your optimization strategies, especially your link-building and content-marketing techniques. Many studies show that people worry about ads, including the information they provide.
- If you like to attract the younger market. Millennials, Z, and Alpha generations will account for the biggest consumer demographics over the next few years. Build a digital marketing plan that includes their personas. With the information, research keywords and write content based on user intent.
- If you must reduce your abandonment rate: Opt for targeted advertising and a seamless omnichannel experience, both elements of digital marketing.
How To Use Digital Marketing and SEO To Scale Your Business Quickly
Ultimately, you must compete aggressively to check off all of your marketing objectives. But how do you effectively merge these two concepts? Here are some tips:
- Know your brand. What are your core values and unique selling proposition (USP)? What are your strengths and weaknesses? How do you see your business within the next five to ten years? The answers will determine all aspects of your digital marketing and SEO campaigns.
- Understand your customer journey. Then map an online marketing and SEO plan that supports every stage. For instance, informational articles are suitable for users in the awareness stage. Meanwhile, case studies are great for B2B leads in the consideration phase.
- Use analytics to measure your performance. Track your progress, whether optimizing the pages or doing email marketing. The numbers can help you refine your budget and KPIs.
So which is better for your business: digital marketing or SEO? The answer is both. It all boils down to what matters to you right now.
Digital Authority Partners (DAP) can show you how to use both. We are an experienced Chicago digital marketing agency with the tools, knowledge, and expertise to help you prioritize your goals and tailor marketing campaigns for optimal results. Contact us now to learn more.
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