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Are SEO And Inbound Marketing The Same Thing?

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    Is a forward the same as a full back in a rugby team just because they both play with a rugby ball? Well, no they’re not, However they’re both important. The same applies to SEO and Inbound marketing – they both use content strategically in a different way.

    Let’s look at what differentiates the two marketing strategies. I will begin with search engine optimization. Its purpose is to ultimately drive traffic to your website from the organic search results produced by a search engine such as Google. When a potential customer or client types a certain search term keyword into the search engine, it is matched with relevant business offerings that the customer can click and browse.

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    Organic search results are not paid advertisements, your website must earn its place onto the first organic results page. From an search engine optimization perspective, content is merely a tool to drive traffic. Google ranks the content by measuring over 200 variables such as

    • domain
    • site & page quality
    • content quality (Including. video links and Infographics.)
    • keyword quality
    • is the site regularly updated?
    • security
    • and user context: history, location

    It makes sense to be ranked at the top of organic search because studies have shown that top organic results are clicked far more than paid search, plus of course, organic placement is free.

    Search engine optimization shouldn’t only be concerned with page rank and site traffic, but also the quality of potential leads visiting the site too. Think about it, would you rather have 50 people just walking through your shop because its on the way to something they really want with no intention of buying anything; or would you rather have 20 people prepared to buy exactly what you’re offering? This is where inbound differentiates itself.

    The Advantage of Inbound

    Inbound marketing is a finely tuned marketing strategy which uses content and follows the SEO rules to drive traffic AND move people to engage and buy. It is the strategy and tools that help you to stand out through the use of Content, Social Marketing, and SEO. It enables you the opportunity to prove yourself as the expert in your field.

    As important as  SEO is, it can’t be completely successful on its own, not anymore. This is where Inbound Marketing comes in. Google recognizes content that is meaningful and helpful to searchers. Inbound strategy develops helpful content, which is why it is more powerful. Just ranking number one through SEO isn’t enough, Google must be able to see that you’re really helping people if you want to stay in the top position. By helpful content, I mean something like a little bit of free advice or education on a subject matter via a blog, video or eBook. In exchange, the business offering the free advice could ask for a potential lead’s details in return. Thus Inbound is actually using  search optimization as one of many tools – to generate leads.

    This information shouldn’t be used to sell a product, because then it just becomes an online brochure. The information should really be

    • consistent
    • engaging
    • customized to your ideal buyer and
    • interesting

    The content could still be related to what a business offers. Think of a business selling off-road vehicles, for instance, posting a blog on South Africa’s top 10 most scenic holiday routes – which happen to require off-road driving.

    It is fundamental that your inbound content is optimized for  search engines, you should use keyword research and incorporate them carefully into your blogs, webpages and social media posts or else the chances of people viewing your material become greatly diminished.

    Google doesn’t appreciate a blatant attempt to stuff every paragraph of your content with keywords so keep it modest, just focus on good writing for your readers with 2 or 3 keyword search terms or you will receive a bad quality score. Inbound encompasses social media, buyers journey techniques and blog posting to channel visitors or prospective clients quicker through the buyer’s journey from visitor, to closed sale. It can even convert them to promoters of your product by offering value and lead nurturing.


    Search engine optimization and inbound marketing are really 2 parts of a Team. Either one used alone puts you at a disadvantage, it’s kind of like trying to play a game of rugby with only a forward pack and no backline, but bring them together, and you have a formidable force.
    To learn more about Inbound, get your free copy of our eBook below.

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