First, let’s define each term. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which basically is a determination of just how attractive your web site is to the various search engines which, in turn, will affect how your site ranks on the search results page. The better your SEO, the higher you will rank and the more traffic your site will generate.

With Inbound Marketing a comprehensive approach is used to incorporate several online strategies to entice visitors to check out your web site with the potential for turning them into customers. Inbound Marketing is a generator of quality content which rapidly becomes the main force procuring traffic from search engines. SEO, incidentally, is one of the basic strategies used with Inbound Marketing.

At first glance you might think that inbound marketing and Search Engine Optimization are entirely different strategies. The focus of Inbound marketing is to translate online traffic into customers by presenting the type of attractive content and/or experience that grabs the attention of potential customers. SEO, though, concentrates on increasing traffic by improving the ranking of a website through the use of keywords or phrases. 

The problem with depending on only SEO to drive traffic and potential customers to your website is that its best practices are constantly evolving. Using only a Search Engine Optimization strategy is great to optimize search engine results but the various search engine companies such as Google, Bing and Yahoo regularly improve their search algorithms so the strategy that previously worked for your site is now outdated.

So, just what does this mean to me?

In order to get the absolute best results from your online presence a combination of both strategies will be required. You could look at SEO as the foundation of your building called “online presence.” Then consider Inbound Marketing to be the walls, roof and the balance of the structure.

SEO gets you started with by improving your ranking with the search engines determining your site’s ability attract visitors and generate traffic. Unfortunately, you may be sacrificing potential clients for the sake of ranking. You need to reach beyond SEO and use a true inbound marketing strategy.

An online campaign of this type will include an active presence on social media, listening to the needs of potential customers, developing relationships with clients from start to finish in the marketing process.  Content marketing is also part of this strategy where you offer something that would be of value to your audience in exchange for their contact information.  This helps you build a database of prospective clients.

Though Inbound Marketing is the current trend and will continue to evolve to enhance successful online strategies, don’t lose site of the important role SEO has to play in this strategy. There will still be keywords and results page rankings but you will also be making your brand know on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LnkedIn.