inbound marketing vs seo

The Truth About Inbound Marketing vs SEO

You might have come across the terms inbound marketing and search engine optimizations (SEO) while searching for ways to promote your website. Inbound marketing vs SEO, which one is better you might think?

Both of them are powerful ways to generate traffic and leads for your website but they aren’t exactly the same.

While both disciplines focus on attracting customers to your business, each deploys different methods.

Put simply, inbound marketing uses a holistic strategy to attract and convert customers on your website whereas SEO is geared towards optimizing your website for best performance (high ranking) on search engines.

SEO is considered a subset of inbound marketing, attracting customers to your business while inbound marketing takes them through the full funnel.

In this blog, we’ll dig into the similarities and differences between inbound marketing vs SEO and which one is better.

Inbound Marketing vs SEO – Content Is Still the Foundation

Content forms the bedrock of both inbound marketing and SEO. An inbound marketing strategy will use content that is more aligned to the buyer’s journey and the buyer personas.

Instead of fighting for the customer’s attention, inbound marketing focuses on attracting them to your business by creating content that is fine-tuned for your target audience.

The content for inbound marketing would thus be more holistic and include collateral such as brochures, case studies, infographics, white papers and more.

Whereas SEO would focus on making that content more visible to search engines such that your content ranks higher on the search engine results page.

SEO uses both creative and technical methods to drive traffic to your website.

This would include using keywords strategically across your website and collateral, ensuring that meta content and descriptions are used, and content is written in a way that makes it credible enough to be picked up by other websites (link building).

Understanding your target audience’s search behavior and the Google algorithms impact is also important when creating SEO friendly content.

Impacting the Funnel

While SEO is primarily focused on attracting, inbound marketing takes the full-funnel approach and plays a larger, more holistic role in the conversion of leads.

Both SEO and inbound marketing use a unique set of tools to move leads through the funnel.

For inbound marketing that includes – lead nurturing, social media management, content creation etc.

For SEO it includes – keyword strategy, designing responsive websites, link management, webpage load speeds optimizations etc.

As you can make out, inbound marketing is a much broader concept and lead conversions are built into the methodology. Where SEO does help to coax leads through the funnel, it can’t do so as effectively due to its limited scope.

Moreover, SEO does not have a clearly outlined lead nurturing process. Inbound marketing does with lead nurturing.

Lead nurturing uses continuous communication with the prospect and educates them to make sure leads are nurtured through the funnel.

Understanding the ROI of Inbound Marketing vs SEO

When it comes to SEO, a lot of businesses make the mistake of just gauging ROI with their search engine results page (SERP) ranking. SEO has far more depth than just that metric.

Whereas a lot of inbound marketers make the mistake of considering SEO as more of a reserve player on the team.

This is the wrong approach. Marketers need to consider the data from SEO and inbound marketing combined.

The ranking is important, but when it comes to ROI, so is generating sustainable web traffic and nurturing that traffic to produce conversions.

In this regard, SEO and inbound marketing go hand in hand. You wouldn’t be doing justice to your analytics if you look at these metrics in silos.

You might be wondering which is better when it comes to inbound marketing vs SEO.

For some businesses, SEO alone might do the trick but for most businesses and to create more long-lasting results, you need to consider both SEO and inbound marketing as one.

Focusing on SEO alone might leave your customers clueless when they land on your website because they can’t find the content they need.

Whereas focusing on inbound marketing alone will make your content spectacular but that content will exist in a vacuum.

These are crucial parts of your overall marketing strategy and one does not go without the other.