Why Online Advertising and SEO are Not the Same Thing

Two facets of a strong small business online marketing strategy are paid online ads and organic search ranking efforts.

Your paid online advertising may include one or more of the following: Google ads, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, LinkedIn ads, Instagram ads, Pinterest ads or YouTube ads.

Your organic search ranking efforts would include one or more of the following: optimizing your website for search engines, your Google My Business listing, relevant directory listings, and an optimized YouTube channel.

You’ll notice that there is no overlap in the 2 lists above.

Why Online Advertising & SEO are Not the Same Thing

Why Online Advertising and SEO are Not the Same Thing

Yes, the various forms of online advertising as well as the activities required to help your website pages and blog posts to rank well organically in search all occur online, but these are 2 different sets of tactics to employ to gain more website traffic and ultimately sales for your business.

In the past few years, I’ve heard marketers say that SEO doesn’t work (But it does. And very well.). These same marketers speak about online advertising vs SEO as if it’s an either/or scenario.

In the past few years, I’ve had small business owners talk to me about SEO… only to quickly find out they are actually asking me about running their Google AdWords campaigns. The best I can guess is that because AdWords is a Google product that places ads in Google search results, the difference between these 2 things has become blurry.

If you optimize your website and blog posts for search, you can organically rank well for important keyword phrases pertaining to your business and what you sell. You aren’t paying for those organic rankings yet you are consistently benefiting from them, and often for months and even years to come.

3 major differences between online advertising and SEO

  • Once your ad spend stops, so do your ads (or top placement in search results if you are using Google AdWords). However, you don’t have to pay for good search rankings if using SEO; you earn those search result spots through strong optimization tactics.
  • SEO stands for search engine optimization. When you are employing good SEO tactics, you are optimizing your online properties for search. Optimization and paid ads are different things.
  • The life of your SEO work is months to years. The life of your ads is limited to however far your budget will stretch. What you might be paying for 1 month of an AdWords campaign could instead optimize your full website…which will pay off far into the future (and would give you the opportunity to drastically cut back on your monthly ad spend once search bots crawled your newly-optimized site, and your pages and blog posts began to move up in organic search).

Online ads and search engine optimization both have a purpose and a place in your online marketing strategy. But one is a short term, more costly strategy that can quickly move the needle for you, and the other is a much more affordable (or free) long term strategy that you’ll benefit from for a long time to come.



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