Just when you thought you had heard every marketing term in the dictionary, along come another few to confuse you. Paid SEO and earned SEO are two important terms that you need to know when it comes to digital marketing strategies. Think of paid and earned SEO as two parts of the whole, each one contributing to a complete digital marketing campaign and each one helping to drive goals and bring in more leads. 

More experienced marketers might remember the days of spamming people with emails asking them to join mailing lists or subscription service. But these days are gone and have been replaced with more sophisticated techniques, including the innovation of SEO (search engine optimisation). If you are interested in a digital marketing strategy it is important to understand these terms. Below we outline what the difference is between paid and earned SEO. 


What Is Paid SEO?


Paid SEO can be understood as any activity that requires you to make a payment in exchange for your advertisement to be placed on a website or a social media platform. You might also opt to pay only when your advertisement has been clicked on, which is known as Pay Per Click advertising

Paid SEO does not solely consist of search engine results but can also be used on social media platforms too. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram offer paid advertisement options which allow you to promote your campaign to segmented audiences. Most paid SEO is used to bring in new prospects to their website in order to be converted into leads or customers by relevant content. 

There are three different categories that can be considered as paid SEO, which are explained below:


  • Search Ads: When a search is completed on Google or any other search engine, the results will feature a number of paid advertisements at the top of the page. Search engines know that the results at the top of the page are more likely to be clicked on by consumers which, in turn, provides those who are paying for the ads with higher conversion rates and online visibility. 


  • Display Ads: Display ads are more commonly known or seen as banner ads which appear around a publisher’s content. If the website these ads are placed on is considered to be highly authoritative and trustworthy by a search engine, the more valuable these sites are for the advertisers. Display ads can be sued to target consumers based on their interests and demographics, but it is important to contextualise the ad for the publication it will be placed on. 


  • Social Media Ads: Social media platforms offer advertisements both around their content and in their feeds, and advertisers can choose whichever best suits their needs. The ads on social media platforms will target the audience that you specifically choose, helping to target specific age groups, demographics, and geographical locations. 


Paid SEO is a vital part of any digital marketing strategy, so be sure to invest a decent budget into this aspect of your marketing. 


What Is Earned SEO?


Earned SEO can be understood as the “word-of-mouth” of the online world, in a sense. It is the acquisition of free-of-charge publicity for your website or business. It can be gained from receiving press mentions, positive online reviews, and links back to your content. This is done by creating content such as blogs, articles, videos, and even infographics that use keywords to drive search engine results. 

Your content needs to be highly relevant and valuable, encouraging other websites or publications to place it on their websites. You should invest in both proactive and reactive SEO strategies. Proactive strategies include writing press releases about new products and services your brand is releasing, submitting articles to online publications and creating content for your own business blog. Reactive strategies include monitoring social media platforms for any reviews and comments, as well as ensuring that reviews and complaints are answered as quickly as possible. 


Why You Should Combine The Two For Better Growth


Combining paid SEO and earned SEO will provide you with powerhouse results. One of the main benefits of combining these two methods is that your brand and business will have better online visibility. This is due to the fact that you will be targeting keywords on multiple platforms and different versions of certain keywords, including long-tail and phrases. 

You will also find that your website will see increased traffic from a variety of different sources. Some consumes might find your website by clicking through from an article you have written on a news website, while others might be sent to a campaign landing page from a paid advertisement. 

While earned SEO is important, it can be volatile as the results can change according to other websites that might have a better digital marketing strategy to yours. Combining paid and earned will ensure that your search engine results remain as stable as possible. If you are interested in improving your current SEO strategy, contact NetMechanic today to find out what we can do for you.