Search Engine Marketing Vs Advertising

To many people the words “marketing” and “advertising” are interchangeable, but when you are talking about search engine marketing they are two very different things.

What is the Difference?

Search marketing can be considered a form of advertisement since you are essentially putting small ads on search engine results pages for potential visitors, customers or clients to see. Yet, the intention of doing this is very different from the intentions of putting up a basic advertisement in your local newspaper or directory.

When you place an ad, your goal is to entice others to come visit your business, buy a particular product, or take some other action that will be profitable to you. The end goal is to get a bit of profit from everyone who bites.

When you utilize search engine marketing, the end goal is a bit different. You are reaching out to a specific market. You want them to know that your website exists and what you have to offer. Even if you would like to eventually make a sale or get someone to signup for your newsletter, the end goal is really opening up a conversation with your target market.

You don’t expect most people to click on your link from a search engine results page and instantly make a purchase. That makes no sense since your listing on the search engine pages is not set up to make a direct sale. It is just to inform members of your target market that you exist and to convince them that you are a reputable source for the information and/or products and services they are looking for.

If you get the click through and they hang around for awhile, your link on the search engine results page did its job. So, search engine marketing is more about getting attention and opening the dialogue with your customers.

Advertising is different because you are trying to directly sell through the ad. Think of advertisements in magazines. Some may want you to go to a website, but most of those sites will be landing pages with more sales material. They won’t have the valuable, informative content that you create on your website.

Bottom line: advertising is designed for a direct sell with no dialogue while search engine marketing is about waving your hands in the air to let others know you have something of value if they want to get to know you better.

Which is Better?

The reason search engine marketing works so well with social media marketing is that they have a similar goal. Both are ways to communicate with your target market and convince them you are the authority in your field. Advertising really doesn’t do this because consumers know they are reading advertising material. The goal of search engine marketing is to appear to be sincere and legit, which means not just an advertisement.

Advertising has worked in the business world for many years and it may still work in some offline strategies, but if you are simply trying to advertise online it is not going to work. Marketing online requires more sustenance and requires the sense of a relationship and understanding of your market. It requires in-depth search engine marketing.

Cheow Yu Yuan is the co-founder of OOm, an online marketing agency providing sem service.

Comments are closed.