Many marketers have made the mistake of presuming that people know exactly what the difference is between search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing. This has turned out to be quite a big mistake, because a lot of people actually do not know what the difference between the two is. Luckily, the question can be answered.
The problem is that when search engines were first developed, things like Overture, MSN AdCenter or Bing Ads, AdSense and Google AdWords simply didn’t exist. Instead, we just had search engines. Being able to get to the top of those search engines was a true art form, and this is what search engine optimization remains to this day. But it’s not the same as search engine marketing.Optimization is a truly technical skill. It revolves around coding, the what, how and when. The goal is to make sure a website ranks highly on the search engines for certain key phrases and keywords.
Suddenly, however, paid advertising was introduced and it changed everything. This was also the birth of search engine marketing and went hand in hand with the development of AdWords, AdSense and more. Now, people can make themselves more visible to the various search engines by paying for it. In fact, if they bid properly for a certain keyword, they can get right the way to the top without having done any optimization.
Search engine marketing, clearly, has nothing to do with technical skills. That doesn’t make it easy, because it does require a completely different skill sets. Marketing professionals have to think about things such as unique selling points, positioning, price, and brand, just as they do with physical products.
Optimization or Marketing?
If you want to establish yourself online, you should absolutely focus on both optimization and marketing. However, this does mean you have to have a significant budget available. Unfortunately, using just one of the two will simply not get you the desired results.
There is a strong overlap between marketing and optimization, however, and if you are on a budget, it is this overlap that you need to try and target. The overlap is in the idea of ‘keywords’. You optimize your content, code and more based on keywords, and you purchase advertisements based on keywords as well. If you use a proper keyword density analyzer, you should be able to figure out which keywords will work for you and then both optimize and market for those.
Search engine marketing and optimization both still focus on keywords. The deeper you go into both practices, the more the focus becomes on keywords and key phrases, as it links to ‘long tail searches’. As such, if you cannot afford a professional to do both, or even either, there are things that you can do yourself that will make a real difference. And if you do them right, your site will start earning , which you can then pump back into hiring a professional to take you up to the next level.