There is a lot happening today in the content marketing world, including blogging and site optimisation. A question that still leaves business owners perplexed is – should I spend my resources on building SEO or targeted pay-per-click (PPC) ads? Which of these garners higher traffic and conversions, both shortly and years to come?
The answer to this is – it depends. Nonetheless, you need not fret as a PPC agency London or elsewhere will weigh your situation and guide you through it.
Introducing SEO and PPC
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the practice for increasing your visibility by featuring through organic listings for search queries and results. SEO is an unpaid strategy and involves groundwork such as content creation and making a backlinking profile, thereby optimising your website for search engines to the likes of Google and Bing.
PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising is a type of search engine marketing that involves paying to have your website highlighted among the top search results among the paid listings. In this plan, the advertiser only pays the publisher – search engine or social media site – upon interaction; that is, once an online visitor has clicked the banner or display ad.
Pros of SEO
Credibility and Trust
The chief benefit of SEO is that it instils trust. Web users today are inundated by ads every day, so much that they brush past them. This is for paid results that feature at the top. The reason is that users are seeking organic results as they seem more trustworthy to them. Therefore, SEO optimisation is crucial.
Organic searches tend to drive higher amounts of traffic towards your website compared to paid ones. Another point to note is that PPC ads are not advertising individual products but entire websites. So, if online users happen to click on the banner ad and get redirected to an uninformative website or one with broken links, the ad money is already down the drain. SEO, on the other hand, does not have this problem.
Even if the PPC campaign garners considerable success – it all vanishes once the payment stops, which is not the case with SEO. SEO-optimised content provides sustainability in web traffic even years after publishing the content. And the best part? At no extra expense.
Cons of SEO
As mentioned above, SEO is a time-consuming activity. It is not suited for putting the word out for limited-time promotions and events. SEO optimisation, in such cases, will be wasteful.
Not only time, but SEO is also all about the effort. It requires rigorous planning, writing, and formatting of your website content. Also, you need to maintain each of the landing pages properly. SEO will essentially take up time, money, and personnel. Although the Return on Investment (ROI) may supersede PPC, the upfront investment in SEO is still substantial.
Pros of PPC
PPC strategy provides a competitive edge as it puts your ad at the top of the page. It features over the organic results and hence, dominates the view. Although most people brush past them, it undeniably gives the best chances at visibility. What is more, is that PPC also provides customisation. With PPC, you can add pieces of information such as contact numbers, locations, and price points. These are known as extensions.
For products, you can do one better – add images with the listing ad option. Doing so can further help your listing stand out compared to its organic counterparts.
Targeting and Budget
PPC uses various demographics, including search keywords and phrases, time of day, days of the week, location, and language. You can further streamline by targeting the exact number of prospects. Adjusting the payment levels by setting limits on how many clicks you want to pay is also a great way to maintain your bottom line.
While SEO is an organic approach and takes time to build, PPC campaigns are efficient and launched in a few days. PPC is ideal for catering to time-bound promotions and offers and urgent scenarios. Additionally, it can help you get rid of that end-of-season stock. So, when time is of the utmost essence, there is no better approach than PPC.
Cons of PPC
PPC ads are expensive, and you cannot run the campaign without them. Every link that your audience members or prospects click upon is payable. The bad news is that once your budget faces a dry spell, so does the traffic. Although the campaign does provide short-term wins, it usually results in diminishing profit margins. The reason is that the customer acquisition costs (CAC) continue to rise without a significant increase in the price of the products and services.
There is a high chance that your copy has similar wording to your rivals, and if that is the case, your audience might switch loyalties.
Start with SEO
Now that you know the difference, a reasonable approach is to start with SEO. As the ultimate goal is to attain maximum return on ad spends, SEO will continue to give organic traffic from the top keywords. Also, SEO is excellent if you are entering a new product or geographical market.
Both SEO and PPC are poles apart. However, you can combine both approaches. PPC is excellent for testing short-term strategies before moving towards SEO content. PPC can offer a head start for a new campaign or brand, while SEO-optimised content can be a fulcrum at the backend with a slow buildup in the background. So, where to invest your time and money is a matter of budget, timing, and urgency.