Search Engine Marketing versus Social Media Marketing – key differences

Posted by Mark Dwayne on February 20, 2013


Search Engine Marketing as you all may be aware is marketing through the Internet and is focused on promotion of websites by making them prominent on the results pages of search engines.  This is achieved through optimization and paid advertising like placements and inserts. Search Engine Optimization is focused on the content, making it rich enough to be interesting, with important keywords inserted at intervals to create links that promote marketing efforts.

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There are several means you can adopt to divert traffic to your website. Of these, the most popular and effective ones are through search engine marketing and social media marketing. While one complements the other sometimes, both are certainly different forms, and people involved in online marketing adopt one or the other or even both. Let's first see how search marketing seems to be better than social media.

Most people turn to search engine marketing when they look for any business online. Whether it is a local plumber you are looking for or a good yoga or dance instructor, the first thing that comes to your mind is to search on the web, which leads to any of the search engines like Google, Bing, Ask, Yahoo etc. Statistics claim that over 60% of the people automatically turn to search engines to do a basic search followed by intensive research, before they decide to buy anything online. Here, the page rank of your website will decide the number of consumers visiting your site.

Moreover, search engines have some excellent tools like Google Adwords Tool that helps by pulling up precisely what you are looking for, provided you use the correct keyword. Hence, even if you are unable to make to the pages that matter by way of rank, you can easily bulldoze your way through by buying sponsored links through the Google Adwords Tool.  You have the liberty to even customize the content that will appear on the search results, targeting the audience by using the very same words as title and description, which conform to what the searcher is looking for.

Coming to social media marketing, you already have a goldmine in the form of a captive audience, and all it takes to communicate is to form a community that clicks on 'like' to announce your arrival. The distinct advantage with the popular social media marketing sites is the younger age group falling in the 17 to 28 who form a bulk of the users. With over three fourths of the users comprising youngsters, all you need to do is to connect to a few in the right way to have the message spread like wildfire.

Another great advantage with social media marketing is that you can react to adverse comments almost instantly and have them corrected in no time. Unlike, in social media, where the adverse comments are there to stay and do enough damage before you can think of a way of extricating yourself from the mess. Even social media sites like Facebook have advertising programs that let you target their captive audience. Similarly, Promoted Tweets on Twitter and StumbleUpon Ads have proved to be very effective means of marketing.

The wise marketer, however, would consider using both search engine marketing and social media marketing to increase the effect of his online marketing better and generate more revenue. After all, it is never advisable to put all your eggs in one basket which could prove quite risky. As mentioned earlier, social media sites complement search engine marketing with several prominent names like Facebook constantly appearing on websites, and click on the tab leads to the site and to the contacts that lie within. Overall, a mix and match of both is what is recommended for best results.

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