An effective online marketing campaign can mean the difference between the success or failure of your business. Search engine optimization (SEO) and inbound marketing offer different but complementary ways to gain exposure online. Today’s most successful companies use a combination of the two to reach new clients.
SEO and inbound marketing can increase the visibility of your business, which can help it to gain the trust of potential customers. Once you learn about how each one works, you can select the right blend of both strategies.
What’s the Difference Between SEO vs. Inbound Marketing
While SEO and inbound marketing both aim to get your business new customers, they both do so in different ways.
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What Is SEO?
SEO refers to the method of improving your website’s organic search engine results to attract more quality traffic. Your website’s success in promoting your business will depend on its ability to attract a sufficient number of visitors who are looking for your products or services. Good SEO can act as both a filter and a signal booster for your website, increasing its position in relevant search results.
SEO usually is more cost-effective than pay-per-click advertising, specifically overcoming the problem of Ad banner blindness (and the increasing use of Ad Blocking software). SEO requires you to improve the overall quality of your site, which can help you take advantage of a virtuous cycle of ever-increasing traffic and quality.
The more you optimize your website, the more visitors you can attract, which can further boost your ranks. Ultimately, your website could increase its authority, becoming the go-to destination for the market you are targeting.
While the exact algorithms search engines use to rank pages remain a mystery, experts have identified several factors which they take into consideration when ranking a page. You can directly influence many of these, or improve your chances of success with ones outside of your control. By doing this, you can improve your website’s performance on major search engines and ultimately gain new customers.
Common SEO practices you can implement include improving the technical aspects of your site, such as page load speeds, mobile usability, URL link structures, or anchor text distribution.
You can also optimize your content by:
- Changing its length
- Improving your keyword strategy
- Posting new content more frequently
Improving its overall quality can also help to attract backlinks and mentions on social media.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing refers to a variety of marketing techniques that nurture strangers of your business into active promoters of it. Content is tailored to the specific needs of a buyer persona during different stages of their decision process.
This radically differs from traditional outbound marketing techniques, in which marketers would cold-call potential leads and broadcast a canned message to them.
Known as the buyer’s journey, Inbound Marketing consists of four distinct stages:
Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight
- During the Attract stage, you want to focus on creating educational content that addresses a specific need your site’s visitors might have.
- In the Convert phase, you want to open a conversation with your visitor to turn them into a lead and propose solutions to a problem they face.
- In the Close stage, you want to convert leads into customers by offering your products or services.
- Finally, during the Delight stage, you want to build loyalty by providing your customers with useful content useful.
Inbound Marketing Strategies
Common inbound marketing strategies revolve around creating quality content. This can be done through blogging, over social media, through email marketing, and much more. Any time your company interacts with a potential customer is another chance to engage with them and move them along in the buyer’s journey.
Successful inbound marketing strategies are built around the buyer personas your business services. To attract new visitors, you need to make it easy for visitors to find your business online. With engaging, educational content, you can convert these visitors into leads.
They might join a mailing list, in which you can send them content periodically which addresses their pain points and also offers solutions. Once they’ve become a customer, keep offering them content that builds on your previous work and makes it more likely for them to buy again.
Finally, make sure the strategy you use can scale with your business.
How SEO & Inbound Work Hand in Hand
SEO and Inbound rely on strategy and quality content to work well. SEO affects the technical aspects of a site and focuses primarily on generating traffic from search engines. Inbound focuses on how promotional materials related to a customer and uses several methods to generate traffic and nurture it into a sale.
Given their complementary focuses, you can create a successful marketing strategy by taking advantage of both. SEO can make your website easier to use, more visually pleasing, and relevant to the needs of your buyer personas. With Inbound, you can create the material which draws them in and keeps them interested in your company.
Both SEO and Inbound are crucial components of a successful marketing strategy. You can reap the full advantages of each by using both in tandem.
Author: ShaDrena Simon is a digital strategist, inbound marketing expert, and resident graphic designer the Yokel Local Internet Marketing, an inbound marketing agency that helps businesses scale online through a customized system.