Having a targeted approach to marketing is important in any industry. When it comes to online marketing, there are different strategies you can implement to get ahead of the game. Digital marketing and SEO are hot words for businesses today, but what makes one different from another? Depending on how you use each, your advertising can thrive or fail.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing revolves around online strategies such as social media marketing, email marketing and search engine marketing. In short, digital marketing is when you take your marketing to the internet.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization allows relevant visitors to find your website through main search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. While keywords are important to improving SEO, other factors like relevance and links within your site’s pages are just as crucial.

Digital Marketing Versus SEO

While both digital marketing and SEO aim to increase traffic to your website, they aren’t quite the same thing. In a nutshell, digital marketing is a more comprehensive, overarching umbrella of online strategies. SEO, on the other hand, is more of a single service that is actually a subset of the digital marketing umbrella.

Let’s explore more key differences between the two.


Search engine optimization is designed to ensure that web crawlers properly categorize and rank your web page. The more relevant your page and the factors within it, the higher you’ll rank in search engine results.

If you rank higher when someone enters a search for certain keywords, chances are they’ll visit your site before others that rank lower. In essence, SEO works to drive organic traffic to your page.

Digital marketing also aims to get your page ranking higher in search results. However, it’s not just organic traffic that’s the goal. Oftentimes, digital marketing also uses paid advertisements to ensure your page shows up first. While you still drive more traffic to your site by appearing early in search results, the focus is broader than just SEO solely.


As we discussed, SEO targets free, organic traffic. Digital marketing also employs other strategies, like pay per click ads or email marketing. With paid ads and placement, like digital marketing uses, the cost is highly variable. It depends on where you want placement, and how you pay for certain interactions. Specific keywords may also cost more than others. In this way, since SEO is more focused on just one area, digital marketing is often more expensive since it focuses on more avenues.

Optimization On and Off Page

SEO is primarily concerned with on page and off page optimization. That means using the correct keywords, proper keyword density, adding trustworthy links, meta descriptions, images and more. It doesn’t affect your online presence elsewhere, although your other profiles on other platforms may factor into your ranking.

Digital marketing does aim to optimize content on your website’s pages. However, it also works to enhance your online presence outside of your website or search engine results. Social media, backlinks, brand mentions and guest posts on other trustworthy sites also play a big part.

Basically, digital marketing also takes care of on page optimization, but it also focuses on optimizing your digital presence off your website too.


One of the biggest differences between digital marketing and SEO is the scope of each. SEO takes care of your pages and website to gain higher search engine rankings and more organic traffic.

Digital marketing, however, goes beyond that. Think of SEO as a tool, while digital marketing is an entire workshop. Yes, digital marketing uses SEO, and it can be a main focus within a digital marketing campaign. That said, digital marketing goes beyond the scope of optimizing for search engines.

It’s a more comprehensive strategy to improve your visibility online and drive traffic to your brand through a variety of methods. SEO is just one of the tools used in digital marketing. But there are other tools, like social media marketing (SMM), targeted emails, mobile ads and SEM (search engine marketing) too.

SEO is one tool, with a more narrow scope of focus. Digital marketing is a comprehensive strategy that incorporates SEO with other tools to achieve your business’s end goals.

In Summary

Choosing the right digital marketing solutions takes time, although many people start with SEO to drive organic traffic. However, it’s important to remember that search engine optimization isn’t the only tool in the workshop. Developing a clear plan for increasing your online presence is key.

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