Search engine marketing (SEM) is related to SEO in that they both deal with digital marketing outreach on search engines like Google and Bing. However, SEO typically refers to internal, organic website optimization while search engine marketing is commonly known as advertising through a paid media budget. While SEO will help your website traffic increase through natural algorithmic means, SEM earns traffic through the process of purchasing ads on search engines. In the image to the left, you will see a search engine results page that is the result of typing the keyword “digital marketing” into Google. The top four results have a small green box that says “ad” underneath the primary title link. This signifies paid advertising, or search engine marketing, where a brand or business has paid Google to display their ads at the top of the page for that specific keyword.

Our team of 50+ global digital marketing experts has done in-depth research to come up with this list of 15 Best Free Digital Marketing Certifications available online for 2020. More than 55,000 students have already benefited from these free courses, training, and classes. In case you are looking at courses beyond digital marketing, do check out our compilation of Best Free Online Courses. 


SEO (Search engine optimization) is the process of making a web page easy to find, easy to crawl, and easy to categorize. It is about helping your customers find out your business from among thousand other companies. SEO is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy. It is basically concerned with a holistic move towards driving customers to your business via online platforms. And to do that, one must ensure the website ranks higher in the SERP (search engine result page). To give you an idea on this, let’s start with this fact – nearly 14 billion searches online take place every month. The advent of Global economy nearly makes every business have an online presence. Just imagine a fraction of those 14 billion searches happen for your business. To achieve that benchmark, your website must rank higher in the SERP, must perform well in the social media marketing, and the PPC (pay per click) activities must be very well along with other digital marketing tasks.
Social media has a pivotal role – Last but not least, social media is an evolving platform that has changed from a basic communication platform to a highly profitable marketing channel. Many users start their searches on social media and make their way to a business’s site. Sharing up-to-date, engaging, and personalized content will attract more people to your profile, and eventually to your website.
The reason he makes it to this list without having a ‘free course’ as such is because the kind of knowledge he shares through his articles and case studies is top notch, and many professionals will swear by it. SEO is such a vast subject that it can be learnt in various ways. What works for someone may not work for you, what works for you may not work for others. But if you need to start getting a feel and flavor of how SEO works and get regular updates about it, then starting reading Backlinko might be a great idea.

For example, let’s say you want to use Instagram as an acquisition strategy. You would go research all of the ways you can grow your Instagram and drive traffic from it, put them on a spreadsheet, rank the different ideas, then for the three that seem the best opportunities, design a small inexpensive test with a specific goal that spans over a week or two. At the end, check back and see how you did relative to your goal.
Using Dr Dave Chaffey's approach, the digital marketing planning (DMP) has three main stages: Opportunity, Strategy and Action. He suggests that any business looking to implement a successful digital marketing strategy must structure their plan by looking at opportunity, strategy and action. This generic strategic approach often has phases of situation review, goal setting, strategy formulation, resource allocation and monitoring.[59]
If you do decide to go with a blog though, please, for all of our sakes, do not start a marketing blog. The Internet is littered with unhelpful marketing blogs by novice marketers. Starting one will be discouraging to you since it’ll be much harder to get traffic, and you’ll be writing about things you know nothing about, so please, don’t start a marketing blog.
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