So you want to know, 'is SEO digital marketing?'. The short answer is, it's part of it.
Ever searched for something online and had Google throw up the exact thing you’ve been looking for on the first page? Google has spent 20 years making sure that their search engine delivers accurate results to queries. They want to provide the best, most correct answers to queries. They do not want you to be able to influence these rankings, aside from improving your website and your business until you actually are the best answer.
However, like all systems, Google is fallible. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is about making sure that your business and your website leans into this, taking every possible advantage and mitigating any shortcomings. It involves learning how Google does what it does and ensuring that your web presence is optimally configured and managed for the best possible performance in organic (i.e: not Pay Per Click) search engine results.
The overall aim of any SEO practice is to improve both the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.
Organic vs Paid
Most are familiar with a Search Engine Result Page (SERP). On Google, this can be broken down into two main groups: organic and paid results. Paid results are easy to spot as they have “Ad” written on them. Organic results are not, and they appear underneath any paid ads. Visibility among the paid ads is sought after too, but this requires you to create and maintain a PPC campaign which is a different kettle of fish entirely. Google’s organic results are designed to be impartial, and it's these results that are the focus of SEO. The higher up your website appears for a relevant search, the more likely you are to receive clicks through to your site!
A SERP showing organic and paid results for the search "bulk buy sweets"
How SEO works
Search engines decide on the various positions that websites appear on a results page (its “ranking”) by analysing hundreds and thousands of signals from each of the web pages the search engine has viewed (or “crawled”) in its index.
There are many, many, many, factors that influence where a page will rank - some Google has confirmed, some it hasn’t. The main takeaway with regards to ranking is that your content must be the best answer or must aid the user’s intent. Being the best answer isn’t just about answering correctly - it’s about:
- Who you are
- What authority you have on the subject
- How well that is represented on the internet at large
- How fast you deliver the answer compared to other sources
- How widely cited you are compared to other sources
- How close you are to the user compared to other sources…
You get the idea...
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is the term for any online advertising activity, including websites and content, adverts and paid (such as PPC), apps and mobile, email, social media, and SEO.
SEO is a component of digital marketing, and as such SEO should form an integral part of any digital marketing strategy. What your overall digital marketing strategy will look like will entirely depend on your objectives as a business and the buyer personas that you work with.
What are the advantages of SEO?
There are so many advantages of implementing SEO into your digital marketing strategy, including:
1. Qualified traffic. SEO, when implemented as part of the inbound marketing methodology, can increase relevant traffic to your site by improving its visibility for words and phrases that your target customers are searching for. These people want the thing you’re offering so they are often ready to convert - and what do conversions mean? Prizes!
2. More traffic. As well as better quality traffic, SEO can get your website in front of a higher quantity of people using SEO best practices. You’re effectively signposting your site and services to Google and other search engines and, when done correctly, you should slowly start to see your organic traffic come rolling in.
3. Low cost. SEO is not financially costly, when compared to other marketing activities. Unlike paid advertising, you aren’t paying for an increase in traffic. The only cost is the time taken to do the search term research, any technical audits and actions, and content writing.
4. Trust. Producing great, well researched and optimised content regularly sets your brand up as an authority in your sector, which can help increase conversions.
5. Brand and website exposure. From 'awareness' to 'consideration' to 'decision', a careful SEO strategy also means you can create content to target people at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
What are the disadvantages of SEO?
But what about the disadvantages of focusing on SEO as part of your digital marketing strategy?
1. SEO can sometimes be a tricky beast. If you haven't attempted to implement your own SEO before, it can seem intimidating and difficult to understand. Search term research also requires a lot of research time, which can feel unproductive (ed: it's not). Your boss might insist you pay for PPC advertising for some quick wins but there’s pros and cons to each method.
2. It takes time for results to be shown. SEO is a long-term strategy which means that it can feel like busy work. It can often take months and months before you start to see results which can be a bit nerve-wrecking when your boss is asking you to prove the ROI of your efforts...
3. Updates, updates, updates. Keeping up with the Joneses search engines and their regular yet unpredictable updates requires ongoing attention and work. These updates can include quite daunting technical updates, such as the mobile-first index… but then again, why wouldn’t you want your website to be up to date and modern?
Are you ready to get SEO-ing? If you think it’s time to fit SEO into your digital marketing strategy, you can download the free eBook below. It'll help you understand how to easily build SEO into your own website 👍