A very frequent question when exploring the benefits of online marketing is, what works better? SEO or PPC? The answer to this is not black and white (if only that easy), and each case should be treated individually. As there are several factors that come into play, it is important to step back from the business and ask yourself these three things: what is my current situation? What are my personal objectives? What type of marketplace do I fall in? By assessing these components from afar, we can begin to delve into the marketing strengths and weaknesses that could help you decide what works for you.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click) are both useful strategies that will help your business grow, and therefore you will find that a balance of both can present the perfect solution. By understanding prospective customers and how they use the online world, you are able to see where your business slots in on a larger marketing plan.
As the popularity for SEO grows, it is vital that you investigate what you need to be doing to be at the top of your game. Who wouldn’t want a flash, fast and fully-optimized website representing their passion online?
- One of the major benefits to SEO and the aspect that gains a lot of attention in a business startup, is the cost. SEO is seen as one of the most cost-effective strategies there is, especially if you push to learn how to do it yourself. Learning how to bring in that invaluable organic traffic for free is one of the best moves a business can make.
- Your business gains visibility! Visibility around certain key terms and informational queries can show a potential customer that you are there and that you are trustworthy. Developing an authoritative voice around a given topic can have a very positive branding effect, turning one-time clients into happy regulars.
- The aim of SEO is to obviously improve the flow of organic traffic on your website. It is this organic search that will improve your ROI (return of investment) over a period of time. When done right, improved ROI can outweigh the money you could be paying for advertising.
- The websites click-through rate (CTR) may also improve over time as a higher percentage of online users click on the organic results. Although not guaranteed, you are more likely to generate a higher volume of visits or ‘clicks’ with a highly placed organic listing, rather than from a highly placed paid ad.
- Sustainability makes your consistent hard work with SEO more worthwhile. Unlike PPC, your results do not begin to fade as soon as your wallet goes away. SEO offers a long-term solution for advertising, whilst still being the cheaper option.
Although I have given you many reasons to stop reading and go and start improving your SEO services, there are some downsides to this strategy. Stay with me…
- So we know that SEO is great for getting results… However, one of the key issues with SEO is that it takes a long time to see significant benefits. When instant results are a must for your business, the waiting game for change becomes a lot less appealing.
- The skills required to be classed as an SEO ‘expert’, may need more teaching than you would think. As links are becoming harder and harder to obtain, the sometimes overwhelming nature of the endless components of SEO, can seem daunting.
- It can be hard to scale, especially if you are operating with a smaller team. Benefitting from Google’s algorithm can be very tricky, particularly when your product/service has a lot of competition. Typically, scaling a business requires paid work as the content on your page needs to be fast and consistent. This constant need for online traffic may have you looking into a more expensive alternative.
PPC presents a business with a quick, digital opportunity. It is a great solution to quickly drive up traffic and reach new customers, so let’s take a look at what else it has to offer;
- You will see results instantly, and this is probably the greatest part of this method. Your cost for this work will range, depending on your competition. As long as you have a solid basis (e.g. good landing page, call to actions and other things such as accessible contact forms), PPC will be successful.
- There is no uncertainty surrounding things like updates from Google. With PPC you pay for what you get and you know what to expect. You will know what is and isn’t allowed, whilst being able to request support from Google if needed.
- PPC makes it easier to scale up, because you can simply increase your payments. There are a few different ways you can approach this; for example, you can put more money into targeting specific keywords. However, you can also up your daily budget. This, if carried out correctly can overpower competition and put your business in a better position.
- Paid advertisements are very buyer oriented. Google especially, is extremely clever because search results are tailored for those who express interest, so when your business is presented online, it draws in people that may find your services useful.
Again, as with every method, there are always components that can hold you back. Regarding ‘Pay-Per-Click’, here are the main disadvantages that may sway your decision.
- The clue is in the name. Your business will be paying for every click that an ad brings in. This can be costly, however, your returns from the increased visibility may make it worth it. You should expect to pay for results regarding this approach, and sometimes this can put a strain on your budget.
- Unlike SEO, PPC does not offer long term effects. If the payments stop, it is very likely your ROI will decrease. Therefore, this is not seen as a cost-effective option, as most businesses would struggle to pay unless there was a constant flow of income.
- If you don’t know what you are doing, and your approach is more in trial and error territory, you will find that burning through your money can become very easy. There are lots of different things to digest; such as, ad groups, campaigns, bids and budgets. It can be very overwhelming, even before you begin and therefore it is sometimes best to start strong and employ a professional.
- The growth of your business becomes tightly restricted by the nature of your budget. If you run out of money, your online traffic will slowly decrease as your ads don’t reach the people they need to. There is no backup in this case.
Some say that a way of comparing SEO and PPC is like buying a house. For example, you buy a mortgage on a new house. Similar concepts, for example; SEO is a long-term option, however also a long term commitment but in the end, you end up spending less and potentially gaining more. PPC is the renting of the online world, you keep paying and you get to stay where you want to be. However, if that money runs out, you can be faced with eviction (and in this case eviction means a decreasing ROI…). Again, every business is different and will have different aims. Therefore, it is key for you to stand back and evaluate all the options you have.
Interested in PPC & SEO but either not sure where to start or want a reputable business to run and manage everything for you? Then please get in touch here for a free 15 minute consultation on how we could help your business.