One of the number one questions we get from clients is, what should they invest in SEO or PPC?
And the answer is, it really depends.
Search Engine Optimization is good long-term
Organic traffic is crucial for the long-term success of any website in today’s search algorithms. Dismissing this is dooming your website. Any good marketer will tell you the same thing.
SEO isn’t dead, it’s just changed. Algorithms have gotten more complex and search engines have gotten more competitive. This is one of the reasons we get asked the question being asked in this post.
Why spend thousands per month on an SEO strategy, when you can spend less by paying for your traffic?
And the answer is two-fold. Let’s start with the more obvious.
Pay-Per-Click campaigns get you to the top for few keywords
When you create a PPC campaign you have the option of selecting what keywords or phrases you would like the campaign to run for. Common practice is to pursuit less competitive but still targeted keywords.
If you put all your eggs in this basket, you risk losing out on organic traffic and long-term could end up paying more than your saving in the short-term.
Another thing to consider with organic SEO, with higher quality content and better technical optimization of your site, you’ll rank for keywords you normally wouldn’t before.
Verdict. Paid search should compliment your long-term search engine optimization strategy.
How do you users view SEO vs PPC?
Here is a fun exercise. The next few times you go to Google to search for something, keep track of what you click on.
Although most people neglect to research multiple sources (this is a huge problem in our online society), a growing number of people will skip the 1, 2, and 3 results, which are often PPC results.
My first opinion is they do this because Google’s users are starting to catch on these are just paid results. And some of the time unqualified.
In the advertising world, native advertising is the newest trend to take the digital ecosystem by storm. native ads are served up locally and often blend into the overall user-experience.
People don’t even realize they are being advertised to sometimes.
Think about the user when considering SEO vs PPC. What kind of experience are they looking for and what kind of content are you serving up?
The case for Pay-Per-Click advertising
There are definitely instances in which PPC is the method you should use over SEO.
Effective search engine optimization takes time, and therefore when you are launching a new site or looking to promote and distribute content quickly, PPC should be the method of choice.
Sometimes keywords are so competitive that PPC is the most cost effective option for a business to achieve their goals.
Another instance where PPC is more effective than SEO is for low-cost sales. An example of this would be plumbing. Plumbers have a hard job, it is also a highly competitive service. The consumer often goes for the lowest cost option.
Think about the users’ search habits. This is going to evolve heavily over the next few years. It’s worth keeping track of.
While there are some distinct differences in SEO vs PPC, they are two marketing tactics that should complement one another. Where one is weak the other is strong, and visa verse.
Here are some additional resources that are worth checking out.