FAQ: Which SEO methods are inbound marketing, and which are outbound marketing?

Proactive linkbuilding (blogger outreach and link negotiation etc) is the main form of outbound marketing in SEO. Meanwhile, all on-site work is a form of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing in SEO

Pretty much all on-site SEO work is a form of inbound marketing. Let’s look at some key examples.

  • Landing page content creation & optimisation is a classic example of inbound marketing within the discipline of SEO. The purpose of this activity is to draw targeted traffic in from search engine, to land on your site through keyword-targeted, well optimised content.
  • User interface (UI) optimisation is another example of an ingredient discipline of SEO that would be considered an inbound marketing effort, as it’s all about optimising the presentation of the content on your site to positively encourage people to stay by finding your site more useful, rather than chasing them to aggressively drag them aboard.
  • Inbound marketing work can also include passive, organic linkbuilding strategies, meaning those which do not involve outreach to third-parties, such as publishing linkbait on your site for organic link acquisition, or building satellite sites / microsites as part of a monopolistic owned media strategy.
  • Outbound marketing in SEO

    Linkbuilding strategies that involve outreaching to relevant publishers, to negotiate them linking to your site or working with you to help attract links from other parties, is a classic example of outbound marketing in SEO.

    Link negotiation can involve anything from offering free merchandise to social media influencers in order to encourage them to review your products and link to you in the process, through to creating articles specifically for bloggers to publish on their blogs, with ready-made links built into those pre-written articles (as in common in guestposting).

    Suggesting link exchanges, where you would publish a link on your site pointing to someone else’s site in exchange for them publishing a link on their site pointing to your site (a reciprocal link exchange deal), is still a popular type of linkbuilding outreach, albeit quite dated. Note that link exchanging with lots of sites is discouraged by and very easily detected by search engines, thus link exchange deals are best constructed in a non-circular (linear) 3-way manner and even then you should question your ethics else risk the wrath of Google penalties in case your scheme is somehow detected!