Most business owners understand that the difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing is that traditional marketing exists within the space that occupies physical locations and uses mediums that can generally be described as tangible, and something you can physically interact with. Television and radio marketing are also considered as traditional, but they are not tangible the same way that a magazine ad or a newspaper provides you with something you can hold in your hand. Television and radio are more of a sensory experience, providing you with visuals and auditory experiences that familiarize you with products and services available around you. While these are far more in line with digital marketing aspects, they are considered traditional because they existed before digital marketing became a medium. “Digital marketing” is the general way of referring to advertising and marketing concepts that utilize the internet as a medium, spanning many different methods that all exist within the space of computer-based interaction. Digital marketing can take on many forms, from banner-type ads that are placed on popular blogs and websites (which is essentially magazine advertising without the physical magazine) through viral marketing concepts that use human interaction within social spaces to pass branding from person to person. The digital space is always changing and transforming as different methods of sharing information become popular, and marketers who specialize in the digital space will usually be involved in more than one concept for their clients. Placing banner ads or putting links into blog posts are the most obvious and easy methods, but some digital marketing can take on extraordinarily complex strategy. Viral marketing is probably the best example of this type of advertising, creating presentations that are shared voluntarily from person to person on the internet through different social media platforms. The strategies involved in viral marketing do not stop at the creation of interesting visuals, but must also involve seeding and transfer strategies to help people move the visuals from person to person. A well executed viral strategy can pay huge dividends as the costs can be low but the exposure can be huge, and global. In between the complexities of viral marketing and the simplicity of banner ads is SEO, which stands for search engine optimization. This is a strategic process that utilizes the patterns people display when searching for information on Google and other search engines in order to generate new customers for a business. This is accomplished through the securing of a top position on the Google index when someone searches for the products or services that the business sells, capitalizing on the fact that most people will choose to click through to only the first few results in order to make a choice of a business to patronize. SEO is the process through which these positions are gained.
Most people will use Google to find out information on products and services that they would like to purchase. Studies have shown that Google is the starting point for about 75% of all decisions that are made, and as a result we find a huge pool of potential customers waiting to find your products when they are looking for them. The interesting differentiation from a marketing standpoint about search engines is that they are not feeding information to a group of people that have been curated using interests and them feeding them ads that they may or may not be interested in, but instead is a group of people who have pro-actively asked to be provided information on a topic. If that topic is in line with the products and services you provide, you can view them as a customer who is ready to buy the moment they find your ads. At this point, you must consider your listing on Google’s index as an ad for your business. This is slightly different than PPC, which is an actual ad that is positioned on Google results. Those can be purchased as a position and paid for by outbidding competitors as far as how much you would be willing to pay per click. Organic positions on Google are achieved by being the authority on the topic that has been searched for, at least within the geographic region of the searchers. This means that if you are providing answers to questions people in your region are asking about your products or services, you can be presented to them through Google without a per click cost, or payment for impressions. If you can get positioned in these top spots, the amount of potential customers who see your ad are limited only to the total amount of potential customers searching. The process by which these positions are gained is SEO.
Search engine optimization is the process through which information is displayed and streamlined on websites so that Google will choose it as the authority on a topic. It is a multi-faceted discipline that will involve the creation of content on a topic, combined with the streamlining of the mechanism which displays that information (the website) so that Google can better understand it. Google is seeking not only the best information on a topic, but also the best methods of displaying that information to searchers in a way that will please them. The reason Google has this interest is that the customers of Google are kept through the display of information that they find appropriate. If Google begins to display sub-standard information to the searcher, they will gradually choose to use different mediums. This is why it is in Google’s best interest to display only the best information on a topic to it’s users. SEO is not only the process of creating the information that Google will consider the best, but also understanding the other things that Google is looking for. These can range from the appropriate size display of text on a mobile phone to the speed with which the website loads, as well as the specifics of the information in the text. It looks at how many other websites are linking to this site as an assessment of how important that information is, and how trustworthy others find it. Through the streamlining of all of these aspects and the creation of the best answers to questions, the process of SEO pushes pages within a website higher on the results that are displayed on a search engine, and more into the views of potential customers. Good SEO can drive far more traffic to a website than almost any other method, but the process must be carefully executed for it to provide results.