The debate whether Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) or Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a more effective tool for online marketing has been raging since the industry’s inception. If you are involved in marketing, you are probably confused as to where your budget dollars should be going. You are likely hearing two different stories, offering contradictory information. It does not make it any easier to make a decision, does it? If you do not know where to invest, then this post is for you. I am going to give you my opinion on the subject based on years of experience and let you in on some industry secrets.
What is SEO?
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – is a method of increasing your visibility in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Many refer to SEO as a way to increase your organic rankings. SEO, however, is much more than that. It helps drive targeted traffic to your website, which, in turn, generates leads or sales for your business. SEO involves many techniques such as keyword research, website audit and offsite promotion, just to name a few. Have you ever heard of Google Penguin or Panda? These are Google algorithm updates are aimed to reward websites that provide relevant and reputable content for users. Your SEO efforts will have to reflect those updates to ensure future success online.
What is PPC?
Pay Per Click is a form of advertising that displays your website at the top of the search results page for specific keywords. To see what I mean, take a look at the screenshot below with PPC ads highlighted in red.
Note: With a strong SEO campaign, we also rank #1 in organic SERPs.
The PPC ads run at the top and side of the page. Every time someone clicks on one of your results inside the red area, you will be charged. Click here for more information about how PPC works.
SEO takes time. It can take months for you to start showing in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). The long wait is well worth it because a successful SEO campaign can yield a lower cost per conversion than a PPC campaign can.
Did you know Google has made 500 algorithm changes in a year? Although these changes might require some action on your part, in general, once you form an SEO strategy, you have to stick to it.
Once you have formed an SEO strategy, you have to stick to it. Yes, you might need to be agile with link marketing or even content marketing; however, if you noticed a sudden drop in rankings, a knee-jerk reaction could potentially disadvantage you later. Instead, give it a few months, and then re-evaluate your strategy. Once you measure the success of your campaign, you can then modify it for better results.
PPC does not have the long-term benefits of SEO. What it can bring, however, is quick results, which is a great way to boost traffic and leads/sales in the short term. The most popular PPC platform is Google AdWords. It has many features, such as text and banner ads, along with advanced targeting options. You can track all clicks and measure which keywords and adcopy drives you the most customers. Depending on the niche, the amount you pay per click is based on an auction, where you bid against your competitors for that keyword.
One of the biggest advantages with PPC is your ability to estimate the amount of traffic you are likely to receive, based on your daily budget.
If you are thinking of going down the PPC route, I generally recommend a budget of $50-$100 per day, but this can vary depending on your niche.
The winner is…
There is no clear winner. Your reasons for using either of the two online marketing strategies will depend entirely on what your business needs. Generally, PPC is for short-term results and SEO for long-term results. However, when I am asked which one they should use, I usually recommend both. They work really well together, creating the perfect synergy.