SEO vs Traditional Advertising: The Core Differences Between Them

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seo vs traditional advertisingThe advertising industry has changed in terms of how companies market themselves. These changes have been inevitable because more ways have been devised to market services and products. This has caused some businesses to wonder which strategy to use. Enter the debate between SEO vs traditional advertising.

After all, that’s probably why you’re here. You too, want to know which marketing strategy is better.

Listen, advertising has been digitized and the Internet is making things easier, more efficient and affordable. Plus through online advertising, companies can reach a wider audience.

So what are the core differences between SEO (search engine optimization) and the traditional approach to marketing?

In the previous eras and even now, marketing has always been carried out by various methods such as flyers, brochures, television advertisements, billboards, newspapers etc.

These methods have always been good and still are in some cases but they also have their cons.

But before we begin, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, only new methods. While some businesses can do with just one strategy, it’s worth pointing out that you can also combine both and if you’ve got the budget, you probably should.

Limitations Of Traditional Marketing

Let’s take you through some of these means of advertising before discussing SEO.

The ancient form of advertising depended on runners who would walk around villages, announcing intended messages. This must have been tiring, right?

After this, there were methods that came later on such as newspaper postings and flyers or brochures. These advertising strategies can be categorized under print media.

Print media can be pricey because of the cost of design, printing and delivery. This kind of advertising usually requires that organizations hire a supplier to deliver the media to their intended audience.

However, this is increasingly becoming a very inefficient method of advertising. Why?

That’s because people are everywhere and your flyers may be delivered to the wrong audience or worse, thrown in the trash by some recipients due to irrelevance issues. Therefore, losing their intended purpose.

Due to this drawback, a digitized form of advertising was invented and this was called SEO. It’s a process in which the visibility of a website is affected positively in unpaid search results (or organic results) by implementing various strategies.

Removing Limitations

You see, SEO has helped the Internet by creating relevance unlike traditional marketing, whose purpose may not be achieved due to limitations like reach and targeting.

Let’s face it, not too many people are seating through TV ads anymore!

For many, it’s an opportunity to do something else until their show comes back on. Others with a means to do so will fast forward past your ad. No, really.

In 2010, The Guardian reported that 86% of viewers skipped TV advertising.

So what’s the problem here? It’s because TV has no real way of ensuring relevance.

SEO is Relevance Marketing

Unlike Flyers, TV and billboard ads, SEO provides relevance.

This is because someone can find what they’re looking for by searching for the exact or relevant keyword in search engines. For example, when you conduct an online search in a search engine, it’ll return the most relevant results based on your query.

That’s why search engines like Bing, Yahoo and Google are commonly referred to as “answer machines” by some people.

In truth, SEO has outshone the likes of print, radio and television advertising. This is because more people are using the Internet and looking for answers.

Also, many believe that they can always get the best deals or answers through online platforms and in many ways, they’re correct.

So is SEO a magic bullet?

Nope, far from it. it’s a long-term strategy that requires a significant amount of work and research to implement, just like its traditional counterpart. However, this is mainly because of the search engines themselves.

There are many factors that search engines use to decide what to show their viewers. For instance, Google uses over 200 factors to determine what to rank!

So the amount of time it takes for SEO highly depends on the situation of a business or website at the time of inclusion.

Generally, with proper “white hat” strategies, it could take anywhere from 4 months to 1 year in order to achieve desired results. Competitive analysis and the nature of the business matters here.

Why is SEO Increasingly Becoming Preferred Over Traditional Advertising?

This makes sense because if we think about school, we’re taught based on books that were pre-selected by our government or educational board. The internet or rather, search engines offer freedom to choose what to learn and when to learn it.

Search engines allow us to make informed purchase decisions without any pressure. That’s why consumers rely on search engines to give them the information that they need when they need it.

But wait, there’s much more.

In addition to this, companies that have adopted this kind of advertising have managed to lure a wide audience to their side. This is because SEO adopts different marketing rules.

Search engines have algorithms, a form of artificial intelligence and bots that seek out web pages to rank them based on a number of factors.

The general rule is that the more popular a web page, website or document is, the more valuable its content must be.

Complicated algorithms, including systems, allow search engines to display information quickly and efficiently. Therefore, outdoing its traditional counterparts.

When you compare traditional means of advertising to this method in terms of cost, SEO is the most affordable form of advertising.

This is because traditional means often require large investment sums (sometimes in millions), all in the hopes of somehow reaching your target audience.

The old “oh your ideal customers must live in this area” approach to marketing isn’t very effective. Then again, it also depends on what you’re selling too.

But you can always get great results on a small budget if ample time is invested in creating relevant content and building healthy online relationships.

So What’s Better? SEO or Traditional Marketing

SEO focuses on targeted inbound traffic, unlike traditional advertising that often requires a large spend and plenty of guess work. So the real question then becomes, would you rather spend lots of money, close your eyes and hope for the best?

When it comes down to SEO vs traditional advertising, SEO wins every time.

This is mostly because businesses know what keywords are being searched for, which gives them an opportunity to design their online marketing plan to meet consumer needs.

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Furthermore, whatever you do online will continue to yield results for years as long as your business is operational. With traditional methods, the moment your ad budget runs out, no more advertising. So unless you retain customers, your results will stop.

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Last Updated on June 12, 2019