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SEO, SEM, Inbound Marketing - What?

July 10, 2012 // By: Stream Companies

Words like SEO, SEM, PPC, CPM – These are acronyms that, for some of us, mean a lot. To many others, they’re just a bunch of letters that are supposed to mean a lot. So, our Inbound Marketing (the all-inclusive term for the confluence of SEO, SEM, and Social) experts have put some pointers together.

Things to Consider

  • Compared to traditional CPM-based media, SEO is cheap. The results attained through Search Optimization are long-lasting as SEO aims at not only helping a website rank for certain keywords but also build authority in the space, engage with the community, track reputation, and create and curate new content.
  • Inbound Marketing helps better serve both companies and customer. Customers can find what they want, whether product or information. Companies can allocate more budgets to Inbound Marketing and only go after market segments they want without having to throw everything they have at the wall just to see what sticks.

Facts and Figures

  • Organic search traffic accounts for 70% of all traffic through Google.
  • 18.2% of all searchers click on the 1st result, 10.05% for 2nd, and 7.22% for 3rd. Owning the top 3 spaces can lead to large growths in traffic without having to invest in traditional CPM (Cost per Impression)-based advertising.

Starting Out

When you’re first starting out on your quest for SEO glory, remember that SEO relies on clear cut key performance indicators or KPIs. Have a list of goals and conversion ready.

Remember: Visits and page views are not goals and conversions. 100 million hits on your website per day don’t mean anything if those visitors don’t convert.


  • Conversions should be both hard and soft. Hard conversions are revenue driven: sales, sign-ups, downloads, etc. Soft conversions are engagement driven: newsletter sign-up, video views, document downloads, etc.
  • By having various types of conversions, SEO consultants can measure the click-thrus, engagement, and other metrics to find which soft conversions lead to hard conversions, which keyword searches are most likely to convert, how long it takes for customers to convert, etc. Based on this data, SEO consultants work with developers and creative consultants to alter the website for better CRO (conversion rate optimization). As mentioned above, all the traffic in the world doesn’t matter if no one converts.

Don’t Get Things Twisted

Inbound Marketing, under no circumstances, can be treated like traditional media (TV, Radio, Display, Print). Where traditional media aims to get out in front of as many people as possible regardless of if the ad is relevant to the reader/viewer, Inbound Marketing emphasizes reaching only the people that matter to you. If you are a power tools manufacturer, there is no reason you should be displaying your ads to girls between the ages of 7-12. With traditional media, it is very difficult to get much deeper than age or household when buying ad space. Inbound Marketing allows you to cater to only your core demographic and even further if you wish. With the advent of Social Media and more advanced analytics software you can narrow down even further: favorite music, political affiliation, location, etc.

Using a SEM Campaign in Conjunction with an SEO Campaign

Because SEO is a long term strategy where results sometimes take months to achieve, running concurrent SEM (PPC) campaigns provides an equally targeted short term result.

  • Paid ads represent 25-30% of clicks on Google. If you are in first position in both Google organic and Google Paid, you now take up much more real estate than your competition, driving large amounts of qualified traffic to your website.
  • In the long term, starting an SEO campaign with a heavy investment in PPC to supplement the slow organic traffic growth can yield short term results in the form of traffic and conversions and as the organic traffic improves, resources are reallocated away from PPC and towards SEO.

This is just the start of Inbound Marketing planning. To hit the ground running, contact Stream Companies and start working with our Digital Marketing team!

Topics: seo, Advertising (general), advertising metrics, Advertising (topical), Advertising Trends, digital advertising, Marketing tips, search marketing