Which Strategy Is Best For My Business- PPC or SEO?
When it comes to internet marketing, one of the most commonly asked questions is, “Should I use PPC or SEO to drive traffic to my site?” This question is a great one to ask because it take two of the more common traffic strategies and pits them against each other- natural clicks vs paid clicks. Is one of these tactics better for your business than the other one? That is a really broad question, and before we can give a good answer to it, there are a couple of important issues that we need to address first.
PPC vs SEO Breakdown
The first thing we need to do is look at what the major differences are between PPC and SEO. You’re not really going to be able to choose the best strategy for your business until you clearly understand what the differences are between the two strategies.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves getting high rankings for your website in the organic/natural search results for specific keywords on the three major search engines: Bing, Yahoo and Google.
Pay Per Click (PPC) involves paying for ads for specific keyword phrases that appear on the search results pages.
I took this screen shot of a search for the keyword phrase “auto insurance Los Angeles” that I did on Google. Notice there are PPC ads located in the right side bar and on the top of the Google search results page. The organic search (SEO) results can be seen in the middle section of the search results pages.
As you can see from the screenshot, you can either earn a spot on the search results page using SEO, or you can pay for your presence by purchasing PPC ads for certain keyword phrases.
Is Paid PPC Better Than Natural/Organic SEO?
At first glance, SEO may appear to be the obvious winner. In addition, there are many reasons, which we don’t have time to cover in this article, SEO is still important when you are running PPC campaigns. The main advantage that SEO has is that it has a tendency to statistically bring more trusting leads and better traffic. Many searchers have, in fact, learned to completely ignore the paid ads when they are conducting searches on Google or browsing the web.
There is an abundance of data that shows that organic search visitors coming to your site are much more likely to trust your services and products, your business and you. When you rank high for keyword phrases on Google, it is a sign that your business is credible and that you are one of your industry’s most important players. This is one of the main advantages that SEO can provide to your business.
However, don’t be fooled into believing that search engine optimization is free. SEO costs, no matter how you go about it- whether it’s spending your own time to do the job or investing some of your money into hire SEO experts to do it for you.
What About Using PPC Instead?
Just because PPC has direct cost-per-click expenses, doesn’t mean every business out there should avoid using this strategy. There are advantages to PPC, and it can also play a major role in informing your specific SEO processes and strategies.
When trying to decide whether to use SEO or not, it mostly depends on what your monthly marketing budget is. For most types of businesses, you will need to be able to spend a minimum of $50-$100 a day on PPC clicks in order to yield any significant results. If you spend less than this, you run the risk of your return on investment being inadequate. Keep in mind, not every single individual who clicks on one of your paid ads will convert into a buyer or lead.
When it comes to the question of whether PPC or SEO is better for your business, my best answer for you is that you should do both!
The fastest way to get traffic to your business these days is to use pay per click. Just keep in mind that something like Google Adwords isn’t something you can just easily plug into. The learning curve is fairly steep. You will need to read one good book on the topic thoroughly before you start to experiment with it. PPC is not only the quickest way to generate traffic for your site, it also provides solid data and information that you can use in your SEO efforts. (Just remember to only consider PPC if your budget allows you to spend a minimum of $50 a day on advertising).
Search Engine Optimization is very important as well. However, it definitely takes much longer to start generating traffic and results. If you have a brand new website, it will be trapped inside Google’s Sandbox for a couple of months at least before it starts to rank. When you have a new website, you need to expect that there will be a lot of growing pains, inconsistencies and fluctuations in ranking.
However, over the long term, SEO will provide you with the most qualified leads and best types of traffic. In addition, your SEO efforts (improving page content, optimizing code, etc) will also be helped by your PPC results. Google loves rewarding “good PPC buyers by giving them them Higher Quality Scores and lower Cost Per Click costs in Google Adwords.