Digital Marketing vs SEO: 6 Key Differences

Do you often use digital marketing and SEO interchangeably?

Are you wondering what the key differences are? 

Then you need to read this article about “digital marketing vs SEO” to help you understand their differences.

A lot of people mistake SEO and Digital marketing to be synonymous terms but these two are different but part of online marketing.

In this article titled: Digital Marketing vs SEO, we will explore their types, benefits, and when to use each one.

The global digital marketing market was estimated at $4,585 billion in 2020 and it is projected to reach $786.2 billion by 2026. As of October 2023, there were 5.3 billion internet users worldwide, amounting to 65.7 per cent of the global population.

4.95 billion, or 61.4 per cent of the world’s population, are social media users.

What Is Digital Marketing?


Any form of marketing that takes place on the Internet has to do with digital marketing. it is also called online marketing.

In recent years, digital marketing has taken over the marketing scene, and its impact has been huge.

Over 70% of shoppers use their phones to buy online.

Digital Marketing is the practice of different marketing tactics and technologies to promote brands and reach consumers online. 

Types of Digital Marketing


alt="digital marketing"
Types of digital marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing      
  • Pay Per Click (PPC
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Native Advertising             
  • Marketing Automation              
  • Email Marketing              
  • Online PR             
  • Inbound Marketing            
  • Sponsored Content              
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)             
  • Instant Messaging Marketing
alt="Digital Marketing"
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This is the process of optimizing websites and content for search engines.
  • Content Marketing: This is creating and promoting content to generate brand awareness, traffic growth, and lead generation. You could use blog posts, Ebooks, infographics, etc.
  • Social Media Marketing: This is the use of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc to promote your brand increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads for your business using your content.       
  •  Pay Per Click (PPC): Paying a publisher each time your ad is clicked on, PPC drives traffic to your website.
  • Affiliate Marketing: This is a type of marketing where a commission is given for promoting someone else’s products or services on your website. e.g. Expertnaire etc.

Is Digital Marketing Important?

Businesses that are looking to create an impact with their products and also create strong brand awareness leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to reach current and prospective customers. 

Digital Marketing has a lot of benefits:

  •  It’s cost-effective because you have complete control over where you choose to spend your money so you don’t waste money on channels that don’t perform.
  • It helps small businesses with a limited budget, optimize their campaign budgets for high ROI.
  • Digital marketing gives a start-to-finish view of all the metrics that matter to a company like impressions, shares, views, clicks, and time on the page. It is measurable.
  • Increasing brand awareness through digital marketing channels such as social media, content marketing, SEO, etc.
  •  Digital marketing generates better leads like capturing contact information from potential customers and nurturing them through the sales funnel.

  • It influences the purchase decisions of internet users in search of services, products, or anything they desire online.

What Is SEO?


SEO is a digital marketing strategy, it stands for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  SEO is the strategy used on a website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords.

SEO improves the quantity and quality of organic traffic to a website by increasing its visibility in search engine results.

SEO is also incredibly important because the search engine results pages (or SERPs) are super competitive. SEO is free and offers different services like:

alt="SEO Services"
SEO Services

SEO Services 

  1. Link building 
  2. Local SEO
  3. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
  4. Technical SEO
  5. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  6. Keyword Research
  7. SEO Content Writing
  8. Law SEO
  9. E-commerce SEO
  10. On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.


Importance of SEO To Business

Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is critical to business, it has a lot of benefits that will be beneficial to your business:

  1. Improves website visibility in search engine results pages(SERPs): Optimizing the content and structure of a website can increase the chances of ranking higher in SERPs for relevant keywords and phrases.
  2. Driving more organic traffic to a website: Businesses attract more potential customers who are actively searching for products or services related to their business.
  3.  SEO Content Adds Value: SEO content’s main aim is to add value to the reader, providing the most answers to readers’ search through articles, giving satisfaction and fulfilment.
  4. SEO improves user experience on a website: By optimizing website structure, page speed, URL structure, and navigation, businesses can create a user-friendly website that provides a better experience for visitors.
  5. Increasing website authority and credibility: When your content meets the E-A-T standard it is okay to say your content is authentic in the eyes of search engines and users and Google will show it to people.  Research keywords to create high-quality, valuable content, and build high-quality backlinks from other reputable websites, this will improve the business website’s authority and credibility.
  6. SEO helps businesses generate leads and sales from organic traffic.

SEO is an effective way for both small, medium, and large-scale businesses to grow and expand their businesses. Almost 70% of consumers head to the search bar when they land on an online retailer’s site, SERP visibility will be increased by SEO.

SEO remains one of the top trends marketers are leveraging in 2023.


Digital Marketing vs SEO: 6 Outstanding Differences


Digital Marketing vs SEO

Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimization(SEO) have distant differences although they are both important for online marketing. Their differences are:

  1. Digital Marketing has a wide scope that covers 
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Pay Per Click Advertising
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Website Marketing etc

SEO is an effective digital marketing tool, under digital marketing. SEO focuses primarily on optimizing websites to rank higher in search engine results pages. 

2. Digital marketing is more expensive than SEO, to get your target audience you have to pay a certain amount of money using social media Ads, PPC, influencer marketing, etc. SEO on the other hand, is cost-effective since it focuses on generating organic traffic.

3. Digital marketing strategies vary depending on the business and the goals of the campaign. SEO is a one-way thing that has to do with optimization no matter the kind of business.

4. Digital marketing targets a broader audience while SEO targets people searching for specific products or services using search engines.

5. Digital marketing enhances digital presence and raises brand awareness While SEO drives the target audience to a website. 

6. Digital marketing shows results faster while SEO can take longer to show results.


This article has detailed the distinct features and the key differences between Digital marketing vs SEO. It is important to note that Digital marketing and SEO work hand in hand.

This article on Digital marketing vs SEO has shown that SEO is a tool used by digital marketers, meaning that SEO is the subset of digital marketing. 

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