SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing are two of the most prolific and effective ways of boosting traffic to your website.
If you have done any kind of research online into digital marketing, you are sure to have come across both these terms. However, the internet can be a confusing place, knowing which one is right for you and your website and where to put your focus is sometimes not as straightforward as it should be.
Search Engine Optimization, commonly known as just SEO, is the process of optimizing your website so that it can be found in the organic search results of search engines such as Google. Organic listings appear below-sponsored postings as shown in the diagram below:
SEO can be a long and difficult process to undertake, but it is one of the most effective forms of online marketing. Once you get your website to rank highly in search engines like Google, you’ll be receiving tons of targeted traffic to your website and it will likely prove to be well worth the investment.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay-Per-Click is a form of online advertising in which you ‘pay per click on your adverts. Nowadays pay per click encompasses advertising on many different platforms, however, the pioneer of the model was Google with their AdWords platform, which we will focus on for the rest of this article. Google’s AdWords allows you to display ads as sponsored results in Google’s search engine results page for your chosen keywords. Sponsored listings appear above organic listings as shown in the diagram below:
AdWords PPC offers a great advantage over SEO as your listing can go straight to the top of the search engine results page, instantly outranking all organic listings.
So, which is better?
That question depends on a few factors, below we go into three main considerations you should consider when deciding on whether to focus your efforts on SEO or PPC.
How Large Your Budget Is
One of the biggest differences between SEO and PPC is that PPC requires a budget. If you’re a startup and are looking to bootstrap your way to growth, then spending the time and effort on SEO may be a slightly better way to go. However, if you do have some money to invest in PPC it can offer some great benefits over SEO.
- Faster Results
Your website should be focused on conversions. Whether that be selling products, gaining newsletter subscriber, or generating leads your website should hav a
clear goal. To test whether your website is working to drive you conversions, you need traffic. Implementing PPC
campaigns will give you instant, targeted traffic that you can then track in Google Analytics to see how well your site is converting for you. This is one of the biggest advantages of PPC when compared to SEO. SEO campaigns require more time invested upfront and can take 3-6 months to take effect, whereas PPC can give you results within weeks.
Average CPC Prices In Your Industry
CPC stands for ‘Cost Per Click’, it is the price you pay for each click on one of your Google AdWords ads and it varies considerably from industry to industry. It’s a very important factor to take into account when evaluating PPC and SEO. A high average CPC will eat up your advertising budget relatively quickly therefore if you operate in an industry which high CPCs it may be better to focus your efforts on SEO, where once you get your site ranking, all clicks will be free.
Some of the industries with the most expensive keywords are:
- Insurance – average CPC $48.41
- Law – average CPC $54.86
- Plumbing – average CPC $39.19
How Competitive The SERPs Are In Your Niche
Once you have performed some keyword research and you have a list of keywords that you want to target, check what sort of competition is also going for those keywords. To do this, simply search those keywords in Google and check out who is already ranking.
In very competitive industries you may find that the results page for your target keywords is filled with high authority websites. Now, this shouldn’t fret you, but you should know SEO is a tough game. Beating high-authority websites at SEO takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and time. But you’re a business, you need the money to start rolling in; who has time to invest a year doing SEO before they see results? If you find yourself in this position, PPC may be the route for you!
PPC vs Organic Search – The Conclusion
As we have found both SEO and PPC have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, probably the biggest takeaway you should get from this article is that it shouldn’t be an ‘either-or’ choice. Combining both SEO and PPC can be a powerful strategy that will take your website and business to the next level!