Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing vs SEO: What is the Difference?

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By Shanon Roberts, on 6 April 2020

What exactly is the difference between Inbound Marketing and SEO? You often see these words used in the same context, and sometimes even interchangeably.

But, these are two different separate strategies.

In this article, we’ll break down the confusion between inbound marketing vs SEO and explain how to use both of these marketing tactics.

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Inbound Marketing vs SEO What is the Difference

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing is a form of non-invasive marketing that seeks to attract and retain users to your website using relevant, problem-solving content. Inbound marketing involves using many different types of content, tools, and tactics to attract users and turn them into leads.

Some principles of inbound marketing include content marketing, social media, marketing automation, and lead nurturing. Each of these concepts are so expansive that we have created blog posts dedicated to each topic.

Inbound marketing typically follows a set of steps as users move down the conversion funnel. The benefits of inbound marketing include increased qualified leads, increased visits to your website, establishing your brand as a leader in a certain topic, and simplifying the sales processes.

Inbound Marketing vs SEO

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a marketing strategy that seeks to boost the amount of organic traffic (which means any traffic that isn’t paid for using ads) to your website using different strategies and techniques.

The goal of SEO is to get your website at the number one position in SERPs (search engine results page). There are several tactics you can use in order to achieve this:

  • Keyword research and selection
  • Website optimization
  • Creating optimized URLs
  • Content marketing
  • Titles, headlines, and descriptions
  • Link building

SEO has many benefits, including increasing your brand’s visibility, increasing trust in your brand by consistently being at the top of the page, and improving the look and feel of your website.

SEO is a long-term investment. While it may take some time to optimize your website and learn all of the necessary tips and tricks, once you start positioning well you will start to receive much larger rates of high-quality traffic. As long as you keep up with various SERP updates and track your positioning, it is fairly easy to maintain your position.

Inbound Marketing vs. SEO

So, how exactly do inbound marketing and SEO relate to each other then? Simply put, SEO is a function within inbound marketing.

In fact, SEO is a major function of inbound marketing. But, as noted above, it isn’t the only function. SEO and Inbound marketing both seek to increase organic web traffic. But, this is the sole priority of SEO. Inbound marketing also seeks to create qualified leads through content and turn them into loyal customers.

In general, I recommend that inbound marketing and SEO be used together. One without the other will not fully benefit your overall marketing strategy. Think of inbound marketing as a cake, and SEO as one of the cake’s ingredients. Without that essential ingredient, the cake would taste pretty bad. But if you just eat the single ingredient without anything else, then you’re not getting the full dessert.

If you are considering adding inbound marketing or SEO into your digital marketing plan, consider doing both.

Likely, you will be creating content either way. You might as well conduct full keyword research, take a look at your technical SEO, and create some extra downloadable content that will help you grow your lead database. By incorporating both SEO and inbound marketing into your marketing strategy, you will be able to better set yourself up for growth and use get the most out of both of these tactics.

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Shanon Roberts