Marketing plays a large part in the world of business. Most companies, both large and small, have a budget for marketing. It involves the planning, creative design of, and presentation of information intended to gain, satisfy, and keep customers, along with the measurement of the effectiveness of the marketing effort in light of the money spent.
Businesses traditionally used printed publications such as magazines and newspapers, postal mail, radio, and television as platforms for their advertising, and they still do that. But late in the twentieth century, a new platform for marketing emerged with the growing popularity and use of the internet. Businesses across the world are now able to reach prospective customers and clients through the internet. Marketing campaigns now include advertising online as well as advertising through the traditional platforms. This has spawned new types of jobs and new types of service companies that offer assistance and expertise in targeted online marketing and getting the most out of the online advertising dollar spent.
The Question: Are Online, Web, and Search Marketing the Same?
In the online world many terms are used loosely, and sometimes they can be downright confusing. Web marketing refers to having information available on the World Wide Web for prospective customers to see or hear. They would only be able to do that if they were connected to the internet which is a system of connected networks and computers that actually connects people from around the world. A computer that is online is connected to the internet right then and allows interactions between the user and the online web pages.
Generally, when online users are interested in information on a particular subject or item, they will use a search engine to guide them to some web pages that are relevant to what they are seeking. The relevance of the web pages shown in the search results depends in large part on them containing the keyword the searcher entered into the search engine search field. So if a business has carefully crafted its website to contain the proper keywords that are relevant to its products or services, it is more likely to get exposure in what is referred to as natural search results. This is one form of search marketing. But businesses can also buy exposure on search results pages through the use of keywords. They can pay to have a link to their chosen web page show up in a different area of the search results page. The more popular the keyword, the more the business has to pay to have a link to its website be among those displayed when someone types that keyword into the search box. This is referred to as paid search.
So, in effect, online marketing, web marketing and search marketing all refer to the same thing, marketing to internet users. There are some nuances that differentiate among them, but in general they are the same. There are other ways for prospects to be directed to a website besides through a search engine. They may have the exact website address, so they do not need to use a search engine. They could have gotten the address by word of mouth, or they could have gotten it from a business card, a radio or TV ad, or a billboard. Or they may have encountered a link to the website while they were on some other site. But since search engine use is the dominant method used to find information online, thinking of and approaching online marketing from a keyword search or search marketing basis is wise.