What is the difference between SEO and Digital Ads?

If you don’t work in digital marketing, it is easy to find that some of the terms used within the industry are incredibly confusing. However, as you consider your own branding and marketing effectiveness, it’s really important that you understand the main differences between certain terms and concepts.

Take Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Digital Ads, for instance. These are two things that people regularly get confused about, even though they are in fact entirely different concepts and platforms in marketing. There is no denying that they are both very important aspects of marketing for every kind of business and that they reach your target audiences in different ways.

SEO improves organic search results – web users type in search words/phrases on their computers/phones, and Google returns results organically (the most accurate unpaid search returns possible) in listings & maps – specific to your geographic area:

“Found” is an accurate descriptive term for SEO in that results are provided but are not placed because of paid space.  One of the main points to note about SEO is that it will help improve organic search results for your website and online presence overall in your area. When lots of related SEO work is done, typically over many months, then your business should appear at or near the top of the results (geographically focused in your area, not outside of it) if it has a good SEO ranking.

To improve your SEO ranking results, we focus on nine key areas of work:
Content, Google My Business account accuracy, Keywording (indexing), Reviews, Mobile Responsiveness, Website Speed, Calls-To-Action, Citations (online directories) and Backlinks (links from other websites back to yours).

The bottom line for SEO is that improving your rankings (where you rank in organic search results) brings you more website visitors, phone calls and map visits to your business.

SEO takes time to work (but lasts!). Digital Ads get results faster (but don’t impact long term!)

Even though SEO is very necessary days to have your business found online, it will be an investment over time. That is because its effects won’t be noticeable straight away.  It will take time to see all the results that come from your SEO strategies. This isn’t the case with Digital Ads, as these can start to deliver some very good results as soon as you launch them. However, this isn’t a reason to go with just Digital Ads over SEO. As long as you are putting plenty of effort into both, you will see that both methods complement each other and drive results together.

Digital Ads (paid ads) Target Specific Audiences

“Served” is the key word for Digital Ads.  When you use digital advertising techniques, you will be able to target a very specific audience, which is something that you can’t do with SEO. For instance, you will be able to target people in specific locations. Some ads will even let you target certain age groups, genders, and people who have certain interests.  This should be aligned with your specific service offerings and market growth goals.

There are several types of Digital Ads including video, social ads and others.  The two tactics that we will focus on here are SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and Display.  SEM includes text ads that, because they are targeted and paid, come up at the very top of Google search results pages.  Display, on the other hand, includes visual ads that are served to your target audience on mobile apps and various websites by buying paid space to place your business ad there.  Both SEM and Display ads typically link straight to designated locations, like a specific page on your website.

SEM (search engine marketing) (Google Ads / PPC)              




Digital display ads (on apps & websites)  




Both Are Very Measurable

There are some similarities between SEO and Digital Ads. One of the most notable is that they are both very measurable. You will get plenty of results from each that you can track via informative reports. It will be very easy to see how well your campaigns are doing when looking through SEO and Digital Ad reports by comparing clicks-to-call, website traffic, form fills and other digitally measured conversions.

These essential modern marketing strategies will measurably increase consumer engagement with your business.  It is also important that you have the right systems in place to capture and follow up on these additional new customer engagements.  Whether individually or in combination, use these marketing tactics to grow your business!

Give Us A Call