In this day and age, many businesses, big and small, have shifted to working online. With nearly 75% of the world’s population having access to the web, the importance of SEO and digital marketing has never been more apparent.
Despite the growing importance of digital marketing and SEO in St. Louis, MO, a lot of business owners, entrepreneurs, and even marketers, don’t know how these two crucial elements work together. In order to fully understand how SEO and digital marketing fit together, one must first establish the basics of SEO and digital marketing, as well as how they work.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the ranking of a website or an app in search results for relevant keywords. There are many different tools and applications (such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, and Wistia) that can be used to analyze the performance of a website or app and provide suggestions on how to improve rankings.
SEO is one of the three fundamental pillars of digital marketing (the other two being content creation and paid advertising).
Why is SEO so important? Think about all the different ways you interact with the internet on a daily basis: from email to online shopping to social media. Now think about how much time you actually spend doing these things. It’s likely that most of your time is spent on activities that have nothing to do with your business. This is why SEO is important: it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, but rather it matters how you’re going to market it.
What is Digital Marketing?
“Digital marketing” is essentially all of the marketing and advertising done digitally, such as posting messages to social media channels or running ads on websites. The goal of digital marketing is to gain exposure and interest in your product or service among future customers, while also motivating them to make a purchase or take an action (such as subscribing to a newsletter).
The distinction between “marketing” and “digital marketing” can be a bit confusing. While marketing is traditionally thought of as a method of getting consumers to purchase your product or service (i.e., the “bricks” and “clicks” of marketing), digital marketing encompasses all the strategies and tactics used to attract potential customers to your product or service (i.e., the “skin” of marketing).
In the same way that SEO is important because you don’t always have time to focus on marketing and growing your business, digital marketing is also important because you don’t always have time to focus on SEO (which can be a tedious and challenging process). This is why being “inbound” (i.e., focusing on attracting and engaging customers based on their interests, not your product) is so important: it encourages you to focus on the things you can control (such as content and offers), and ignore the things you can’t (such as traffic).
How Do These Two Match Up?
You’ll often hear people in St. Louis refer to SEO and digital marketing as “search engine optimization” and “online marketing”, respectively (which can be slightly confusing). This is because SEO and digital marketing are not necessarily marketing approaches that you would follow (e.g., you may perform SEO for a business that doesn’t have much of a digital marketing strategy).
SEO and digital marketing are two sides of the same coin. Just as SEO helps to improve the search results for your website or app, so too does digital marketing (in addition to SEO) help to improve the visibility of your website or app in the eyes of the general public. The main difference is that SEO is focused on attracting potential customers to your product or service, while digital marketing is focused on converting these interested customers into paying customers (by encouraging them to take some kind of action, such as making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter).
SEO vs. Digital Marketing
Most businesses that are concerned with marketing will have an interest in SEO, as it can help to increase the number of people who see or hear about your product or service (e.g., via organic search results on search engines). However, not all businesses that are interested in SEO will necessarily have much of a digital marketing strategy (as they may be focused on other areas of marketing, such as traditional forms of advertising).
It’s important to note that SEO and digital marketing are not competing strategies or approaches; rather, they are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, if you’re just focusing on one or the other, then you’re probably not getting the full potential benefit from this partnership.
Why Should You Study Online Marketing?
While it’s not always easy to convince potential employers that you’re more interested in marketing than you are in software development or engineering, there are many instances where a marketing-oriented mindset can be extremely beneficial.
If you’re concerned about marketing, then consider these important questions:
- How do I position myself to be the best in my industry?
- How do I get the word out about my product/service?
- Who are my target audiences and how can I connect with them?
- How do I measure the success of my marketing strategies?
If you have an interest in marketing, then you should consider studying online marketing, as it not only teaches you the theory but also how to apply it and understand the results of your efforts. Even if you end up not pursuing a career in marketing, you will still be able to benefit from a general understanding of online marketing.
In summary, SEO and digital marketing are not distinctively separate areas of expertise; rather, they are two sides of the same coin. If you don’t yet understand the importance of SEO, then consider how much time you would have to devote to growing your business had you not spent so much time doing things that have little to do with your business (e.g., social media). The same goes for digital marketing — had you not spent so much time focusing on SEO and paid advertising, then you would not have much content to post on social media, and your reach would be much more limited. With limited time and resources, it’s essential to be efficient and make the most out of what you have — which is why SEO and digital marketing are so important.