"The difference between SEO and SEM," writes Alex Chris for Reliable Soft, a digital marketing firm, "is simply that Search Engine Optimization is part of Search engine marketing."
True, SEO is a part of SEM--and vice versa--but this is not a "difference."
Elsewhere, Coastline Marketing Group, an Internet marketing agency, asks "What's the difference between SEO and Internet Marketing?"
"Although some people use these two terms interchangeably," the agency writes, "each platform serves its own special purpose."
SEO, according to Coastline, includes keywords, links, and page content, and is the "more technical half of the two platforms." Internet marketing, which includes "article marketing, video marketing and social media," is the "more human aspect of the two platforms."
The distinctions here are fuzzy at best. After all, what is "page content" if not articles and videos? And what is social media marketing without links?
We quote these two (of many) attempts to draw distinctions to prove a point. The distinctions between different online marketing strategies are arbitrary. The difference between SEO and SEM, for example, is largely semantic.
While there are undoubtedly strategical differences between, say, how any given agency might perform an SEO campaign and a content marketing campaign, most online marketing strategies share a singular goal: to target and attract a specific audience.
For a newcomer, this is the essential takeaway.
By focusing on the distinctions, we confuse the market. Worse, we repel newcomers. For this reason, we believe online marketing is best viewed (at first glance) as a singular entity.
To understand how online marketing works, a newcomer would do better to ask "What is the difference between online marketing and traditional marketing?"
|Is traditional marketing and online marketing different? [Source]|
Now, a simple Google search about the differences between traditional and Internet marketing yields more fruitful commentary. Google "online marketing vs traditional marketing" and you will find a host of articles exclaiming the differences in, say, cost and tracking.
Beyond the measurables, though, we believe traditional and online marketing reveal two distinct philosophical differences--differences that speak to the prominence of online marketing as the marketing method of our time.
Online Marketing Distributes to a Precise Audience
In essence, the goal of online marketing shares the same goal of traditional marketing strategies like print newspapers and magazines, radio and television ads, and circulars. At its core, all marketing is about communication. From the beginning of commerce, the art of attracting customers has been about crafting and distributing a message.
Today, both traditional and online marketing craft messages targeted to attract precise audiences. However, distribution differs dramatically.
Traditional marketing relies on advertisements in newspapers, magazines, brochures, or on the radio or television. Many new businesses receive no returns from this form of advertising. The problem is not necessarily the message. The problem is the distribution.
As we've noted before: "Many consumers today do not read periodicals or listen intently to radio commercials; and those who do might not distinguish one ad from the overabundance of others. Among those who do notice an ad, many are not interested in the product or services."
Contrary to this "blanket approach" to message distribution, online marketing messages reach a precisely targeted audience. Organic SEO (and PPC campaigns), for example, empowers potential customers to easily discover your website. When optimized for search engines, a website is visible to the precise customers who are looking for your product or service.
Online Marketing Focuses on Products (Keywords) First
All businesses promote products, of course, but marketing online requires a specific emphasis on product over brand (at least for new and upcoming firms without established brand names). In selling products to the greater populace, traditional marketing attempts to tie a brand to a product. To be successful, a traditional marketing campaign must work to create a trusted brand image.
Of course, online marketing requires a brand to engender the same trust. But when attracting customers, online marketing focuses, first, on keywords.
Online brands must work hard to clarify precisely how to market products through carefully chosen keywords. At the beginning, your ideal customer will not know your brand name from a bar of soap. However, you can attract your customer by targeting the right product keywords.
When speaking to clients, our sponsor, Alex Stepman, implores each firm to, "imagine you're an Internet user searching for your product or service. What keywords would you use to search for your product or service? Think precisely about the exact keywords that best describe your product or service." Alex then researches those keywords to see how best to compete.
Organic SEO with Stepman's PC
If you're looking for an SEO company that understands how to effectively promote websites with carefully chosen keywords, we suggest contacting our sponsor, Stepman's PC: 215-900-9398 Stepmans PC combines traditional marketing methods and organic SEO--with an emphasis on natural website optimization--to design thoughtful, inspiring, and effective content marketing campaigns.