How To Choose Between SEO and PPC Advertising?
A lot has changed about online marketing in the past few years, but two things haven’t.
- Search engines still remain the biggest source of traffic for websites; and
- Organic search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising (also known as paid search) are still the most effective ways to tap into the massive search engine traffic
You don’t have much of a choice here. For most businesses, SEO and PPC Advertising are the only options to drive visitors from search engines. Yet many small businesses are unsure about which option they should select. We strongly suggest that you should do both, but if you absolutely have to choose one over the other, read on.
Difference Between SEO and PPC
SEO: Getting on Page One Organically
Over 3.5 billion searches take place on Google every day. 89% of these people click on a first-page result. That’s why every business wants to appear on page one, or better, on top of the organic search results. A study of 18,000 small and medium e-commerce sites revealed that they were receiving 30.5% of all traffic from organic searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.
Add to it the lure of getting “free” traffic, and SEO can easily become the growth strategy of any small business, except for the fact that SEO is not free. This is a trap many small businesses fall into. They think that SEO doesn’t cost anything.
On top of that, they think they can do it themselves. Finally, they come face to face with the cold hard reality after wasting a lot of time, when they realise their efforts are not working. Seeing that it’s taking forever for their rankings to improve, they either hire an SEO agency or turn to PPC or both.
PPC: Buying Top Spots On Search Engines
PPC is like ‘buying’ your way to the top of the organic listings. Google’s AdWords (and similar products from Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines) place your webpage above the organic search results, for a fee. The good thing about this small fee is that you only have to pay it when someone clicks on your ad, hence ‘pay-per-click’.
Here’s how it works:
- You tell Google the keywords for which you want your ad to appear.
- Google displays your ad whenever a user searches with keywords that you have specified.
- Google charges you a per-click cost whenever someone clicks on your ad.
PPC is a great way to make some quick sales and get the wheel rolling. But unlike SEO, which appears to be free, PPC will cost you from day one.
You’re only paying for the clicks and are getting free brand exposure. But, you’ll be bleeding money if your keyword selection is incorrect, or if your website is not properly optimised for conversions. To make things grimmer, only a measly 1.9% of all clicks go to Google’s paid ads.
How to Choose Between SEO and PPC Advertising?
SEO might look like an obvious choice. But, PPC is still a major source of business for most websites. SEO is a tough and long-term war. PPC is a tactical strike. So, which one is right for your business? Here are a few considerations to help you decide.
Your Profit Margin
The average cost per click (CPC) for AdWords is $2.32. The average conversion rate for AdWords is also around 2%. So, in the average case scenario, you’re paying around $200 to sell 2 products. But don’t be discouraged. The conversion rate for certain businesses is as high as 11%. You’ll need to do crunch some numbers in order to find out if PPC makes sense for your business.
Competition in Your Industry
Are there millions of businesses in your industry? Do your top-ranking seem to have impressive websites? If yes, it will probably take you a long time (possibly forever) to climb to the top of organic search results. PPC might deliver some much needed quick results in such a scenario.
Your Business Strategy
Are you looking to capture the market right after launch or do you have a more laid back, wait and see the type of a strategy? PPC does deliver quick results if you can afford it. SEO needs time and hard work to work, apart from money and expertise.
PPC advertising can get you some quick sales and SEO can help you get customers organically. As they say don’t put all your eggs in one basket, combining SEO and PPC advertising is probably the best combination. So, if you are clear what your goals are, you will be able to decide the path. The idea is to drive traffic to the website and convert more and more leads.