Just starting out online? Looking for ways to promote your website? If these questions seem familiar, you’ve probably heard of the terms “Inbound Marketing” and SEO a few times. You might have even done research on it, but do you know which one is better?
Below I’ll explain the value that SEO and inbound marketing can bring to your website, and I’ll explain the inbound marketing vs. SEO debate a little more in depth. After reading this article you should have a better understanding the difference between the two, and why they are necessary for online marketing.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is the most effective marketing method for doing business online. Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects' attention. Some common inbound methods include blogging, email marketing, social media, whiteboards, ebooks, videos, etc.
This is different from the old, outdated traditional marketing tactics, also known as outbound marketing. Outbound marketing is interruptive while inbound marketing provides targeted content and information after a website is found. Instead of trying to attract audiences through commercials or advertisements, inbound marketing displays calls-to-action (or CTAs) after someone has already found your website or services.
Basically, inbound marketing is giving your target audience what they are looking for when they need it. Outbound marketing tries to bring in traffic that may or may not be relevant. Using inbound, you help your visitors by offering them content or information that is interesting and helpful.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. Basically, this means any action you take to better optimize your website for search engine performance. SEO covers a variety of actions, and it has quite a few factors that contribute to the SEO of your website.
Generally, SEO is anything you do to increase the ranking of your website within the search engine’s search results. Writing keyword-rich copy is better for keywords in that paragraph. You are essentially optimizing your website. SEO can’t be done doing one or two things, but is a larger grouping of multiple tactics that work together to improve your website.
In order to have a well-optimized website, you need to meet a number of requirements. Your page titles have to be optimized, your website navigation and links need to be easy to understand, and your keywords have to be used the right number of times. The list still goes on further, but this is a good start. SEO is always changing as well so keep up to date on what new methods are popping up.
How are Inbound Marketing and SEO Different?
Inbound marketing focuses on converting visitors into leads or buyers while SEO focuses on attracting more traffic by improving your website’s ranking. There is one thing these two methods have in common: the human element.
SEO isn’t just about improving your ranking, but also includes getting more visitors in front of your website. It’s about reaching more potential customers, and helping people find what they are looking for. Inbound marketing is somewhat the same. It’s about giving visitors and leads what they are looking for, and helping them solve their problems.
Inbound and SEO focus on different stages of the selling process. SEO is attracting, and inbound is convincing. If done correctly, they work well together and form an effective sales strategy.
Which is Better for Your Website?
Your website should have strategies for both inbound and SEO. They are both very important for attracting relevant traffic and for converting those visitors into customers.
Without SEO, you will not get the right kind of traffic you need. SEO increases the visibility of your website by ranking for the keywords most relevant to your business. Without SEO, you would have to rely on word of mouth, links, or paid advertising to be found.
Without inbound marketing, your SEO efforts wouldn’t pay off. Customers want and need reasons to trust you and to choose your business over the many others out there. By giving them content or information, or by interacting with them, you’re setting yourself apart from the competition.
Inbound marketing without SEO is pointless because it means your great content may not be found quickly or reliably enough to make a difference. SEO without inbound marketing is ineffective because customers can and will leave websites that don’t meet their needs, no matter how well they rank. That’s why I recommend both.