In the vast digital world, businesses always search for ways to reach Internet users and convert them into loyal audiences. There are two popular approaches that many brands opt to use. These approaches are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and digital marketing.
While both are essential aspects of a successful online marketing strategy, is SEO better than digital marketing? There are compelling reasons why SEO stands out as a more effective method.
This article will discuss five of these compelling reasons. From better targeting to long-term results, we will explore why SEO may be the answer to your marketing needs. We will highlight ways SEO targets audiences better and saves you more money.
We will also tackle how SEO boosts your brand credibility and how to ensure the strategy’s results are long-lasting.
1. Better targeting
Digital marketing tries to capture a broad audience because it focuses on increasing conversions. SEO, on the other hand, targets specific audiences and their search intent. This targeted approach increases your conversions, thus bringing in more ROI compared to digital marketing tactics that attract generic traffic.
An excellent SEO strategy includes the following targeting approaches.
Keywords are phrases people use the most when searching on the internet. Different demographics use different keywords, and it’s an SEO expert’s job to research them. Thorough keyword research means you can understand your target audience’s search behavior. It also helps you refine your website and content to answer specific search queries.
Here’s a run-through of the keyword research process.
Identify relevant topics
Brainstorm different themes that are relevant to your niche. For example, skincare content has subjects such as acne and hyperpigmentation. A great way to decide the topics to focus on is to consider the products you’re promoting. Draw inspiration from the problems they’re solving.
Create seed keywords
These keywords are broad terms that you’ll use to build your specific keywords. For example, a fitness brand’s seed keywords can include “gym etiquette” and “meal prep plan.” While seed keywords are broad, avoid making them vague. You’ll have a hard time researching ambiguous keywords.
Use keyword research tools
Many online tools help you determine the relevance, competition, and ranking of keywords. The best keyword research tools also tell you how hard it’ll be for your keywords to rank high on people’s SERPs.
Input your seed keywords to get suggestions for other related keywords and their metrics.
Analyze your competitors
It wouldn’t hurt to find out which keywords work for your competitors. Comb through their content to find keywords that draw customers to them. The research tools we recommended above can scout a brand’s website and select its targeted keywords.
Incorporate or build upon these results to rank higher than other brands.
Consider long-tail keywords
Unlike seed keywords, long-tail phrases are specific and have three or more words. For example, the long-tail keyword for a shoe brand can be “women’s running shoes with good arch support.”
Long-tail keywords will benefit your SEO strategy more because they have less competition, thus making it easier to rank higher in search results. Since they answer specific queries, they also increase your conversion rates.
Update your keywords list
Keywords don’t stay relevant forever. Regularly keep up to speed with your industry’s trends and update your keywords. Monitor your keywords’ metrics to remove the ones that are no longer relevant to people’s searches.
Search or user intent is the motivation behind an internet search. While knowing people’s exact search queries is challenging, we can categorize their intent into four types.
People with this intent seek answers or information about a topic or product. They are searching for tutorials, research material, or definitions. Their search queries often begin with the following phrases.
- What is
- How to
- Why is
- How does
People with this intent are looking for a specific website or brand. They type the brand’s name into the search box to find them.
People with this intent want to buy something or complete a particular online transaction. They’re looking for products and services that solve a problem. Their search queries include “buy” and “for sale.”
For this intent, your landing page is the most critical element of your website. You must create attractive landing, product, or service pages that showcase your product’s advantages and features. Include an FAQ section that answers any question someone may have in mind. The idea is to remove doubt that you are the perfect solution for their pain.
People with this intent want a product or service but don’t know the best one. They’re reading reviews and seeking recommendations. To target these people, create comparison guides, product reviews, and case studies to help them make informed decisions.
2. Better organic search traffic
The top three Google search results get 54.4% of all clicks. Think about the organic traffic you’ll get if you occupy one of those coveted spots. SEO practices aim to place you in these positions by convincing search engines you’re a reliable source of information. A higher ranking equals more traffic.
Let’s review how SEO gets you more organic traffic than digital marketing.
- Optimizing web pages for specific keywords increases the chances of your website ranking for many search queries. You can reach people with different intents at the same time.
- Crafting excellent content convinces Google to feature your content in the “Featured Snippet” section. Google created this section to provide direct answers to a search query. Appearing as a featured snippet can increase visibility and persuade people to click on your website and learn more.
- Polishing your website’s user experience means your audience is more likely to explore other site pages. As a result, your bounce rate drops, and the pageviews per session increase. Search engines rely on these signals to suggest your website to more people.
- Link-building and positive online reviews boost your website’s credibility. People are more likely to visit your website when others enjoy your content. They are also willing to share your website with their friends and family, and soon your organic traffic will grow.
Unlike digital marketing, SEO can run without a hefty initial investment and ongoing costs. You need an SEO expert and patience to kickstart your SEO strategy. Digital marketing requires investing in PPC, which costs money whenever someone clicks on your ad.
Let’s look at the cost difference between SEO and digital marketing.
Digital marketing involves bidding on keywords and paying for each click. You need to allocate a budget upfront. With time, the costs-per-click add up, especially in competitive industries. You must spend more if you want a better chance of reaching your audience.
On the other hand, SEO requires an initial investment for an expert to optimize your website and create quality content. Once your site traffic picks up, you can reduce spending and let the search engines do the rest. This cost structure makes SEO a more budget-friendly option.
SEO focuses on content creation, link building, and website structure. You can perform these activities in-house or hire a specialist. The costs would amount to a fraction of the continuous ad spend required for digital marketing.
This ongoing cost advantage makes SEO a more sustainable and affordable option in the long run, especially for newer brands.
It’s not enough to attract traffic; you must convince them to return. Sustaining traffic is a high cost in digital marketing. Search engines stop showing digital marketing campaigns when the budget runs out.
On the other hand, SEO focuses on improving website ranking and visibility on people’s SERP. If you monitor and update your website, you’ll maintain your position and your traffic.
Higher return on investment (ROI)
Digital marketing can give you quick results and higher visibility because search engines will show paid ads to everyone. However, SEO typically brings in more ROI.
SEO costs businesses less while still bringing in traffic and securing conversions. This long-term ROI advantage makes SEO a more cost-effective choice.
4. Increased brand credibility
Digital marketing emphasizes conversions before other aspects of a brand. SEO, on the other hand, tries to improve people’s perception of a business. Here are the ways SEO contributes to better brand credibility and authority.
Higher search engine ranking
One of the ways SEO boosts brand credibility is by helping websites achieve higher search engine rankings. People consider a brand and its website more trustworthy and credible when it appears on the first page of search results.
We can confidently claim this based on a case study by FirstPageSage. Despite the paid ad appearing at the top of the SERP, it only got 2.1% of all clicks. The first organic result below it received 39.8% of all clicks.
Quality content creation
Any SEO expert will tell you the importance of high-quality and relevant content that entertains audiences while answering specific search queries. You have to remember that you’re writing for search engines and humans.
A brand establishes itself as an authority in its field industries by consistently creating valuable content. People grow to trust a brand when they consider it a source of informative, well-crafted content.
Positive user experience
SEO has many optimization practices to ensure a website is mobile-friendly, accessible, and fast for search engines and humans. A well-designed website tells people your brand values professionalism, reliability, and attention to detail.
Backlinks, one of SEO’s most critical elements, are links on other websites that direct people back to your website. Search engines consider backlinks on authoritative sites as endorsements from industry leaders.
What would you think of a website whose backlink is on Apple’s official website? You’d consider it credible because it’s in the company of a reputable brand. When people stumble upon your content through backlinks, they associate your brand with that of the authoritative sites they’re on. This association fosters a positive impression and enhances your brand’s credibility.
Every SEO expert keeps an eye on a brand’s online reputation. Your brand can show customer commitment by responding to online reviews and feedback. You also increase your brand’s credibility by acknowledging concerns people make online and providing fast solutions. Transparent and timely communication builds trust and establishes the brand’s credibility.
5. Long-term results
Digital marketing gets you faster initial results than SEO. A paid ad will appear on everyone’s SERP at the same time. However, it’s not sustainable unless you plan to spend money on an ad forever. Conversely, SEO is slow to realize results, but they last a long time. It can take up to 6 months to begin getting a lot of traffic, according to a survey by Ahrefs.
Constant monitoring is the key to ensuring your SEO results are long-term. Keep up with SEO trends that may affect your ranking. Subscribe to reputable SEO blogs, follow industry experts, and stay engaged in digital marketing forums.
You must also find favor with search engine crawlers by creating high-quality content that answers search queries and entertains people. Google’s algorithm will always prioritize content that people find informative and enjoyable. Revisit your past content and update any outdated information to prompt search crawlers to index your website.
Finally, don’t shy away from promoting your content. Share your websites on social media platforms and engage with others to establish trust and ensure they develop an interest in your brand.
SEO triumphs over digital marketing by targeting specific audiences instead of general ones. Targeted audiences are loyal and tend to return to your website. SEO offers brands better organic traffic and long-term results.
Thanks to its cost-effectiveness, SEO is also an excellent choice for businesses looking to limit their spending. Finally, SEO efforts convince people you are a credible authority in your niche.
However, avoid viewing SEO as a standalone marketing solution. We encourage you to combine SEO with other marketing strategies, such as paid ads, to ensure a successful marketing plan.