The big question, “SEO vs. PPC”. To answer this, you really need to know the difference between the two, and what each one entails. In this post, we are going to go over the pros and cons of each one as well as talk about some tips in choosing which one is best for you. We are big on SEO here at Eldie Web Design, since that is what we use and that is what we offer our customers. However, that doesn’t mean that PPC isn’t the best choice for your business. Without further ado, let’s dive right in and start talking about SEO.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is the process of ranking pages on Google for specific key words. This is organic, or free, traffic; however, it isn’t necessarily “free”. There are DIY SEO Strategies that are free for anyone to try, but it can be very time consuming. You can hire someone to do your SEO for you, and even though that means SEO isn’t free, it is still going to be cheaper than PPC. Money isn’t the only important factor in deciding which marketing strategy is right for you, so let’s go over the pros and cons of SEO. We’ll start with the pros.
Builds Credibility and Trust
SEO results are organic, real results, so this is excellent for building credibility and trust with anyone looking for your services. Ads can be annoying and disruptive; nobody wants to be interrupted by a pop-up while they’re scrolling on a website. Most users skip ads and trust organic results more highly. A big advantage of doing SEO is that once you have established yourself in the organic results, competitors can’t just buy they’re way in. This can give your website the upper hand over competitors using paid search. Being visible around search terms related to your business really shows your website as trustworthy as well as providing a positive branding benefit. This puts your business in front of potential customers in the same way as if you were to advertise. In turn, this helps your brand become associated with questions that will lead users to a purchase.
Another benefit for using SEO is that it is long term. Unlike paid marketing, organic traffic does not dry up when you stop paying. As long as you have established yourself in organic results, you will continue to show up even if your whole marketing team takes a break from optimizing. This is why plenty of marketers choose SEO as the best channel for long term, expandable results. If you stop optimizing altogether, you will eventually fall off the first page of Google and your traffic will disappear. Don’t do that! Google’s algorithm is always changing so you want to continue to optimize your website for new key words, create new content and build links. SEO has long term effects, so you want to think long term for your SEO success.
As I briefly mentioned before, SEO is going to be cheaper than PPC whether you choose to try DIY strategies or hire someone to do your SEO for you. You can see in this infographic from WordStream that the average CPC, or PPC, across all industries is $2.32. The average keyword that you want to rank for probably gets around 300 searches a month. Multiply that by the $2.32 and you would be paying $696 to get the same number of clicks that you would get using SEO. That number is already higher than our SEO Bronze Package! Prices for SEO and PPC will vary depending on the company and also how much you’re willing to pay per ad with PPC, but SEO will generally be cheaper.
Return on Investment
Even times when SEO services aren’t cheaper, it’s still going to be more worth it in the long run. A higher percentage of users will click on organic results, which in turn means you will get an improved click-through rate as well as an improves return on investment. You can calculate SEO’s return on investment by looking at search engine rankings, organic traffic, and using the return on investment formula: (Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment)/Cost of Investment. True SEO return on investment involves getting targeted traffic from SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) no matter the keyword length. Every business is going to have a different return on investment, but SEO is sure to provide an improved return on investment over paid ads.
While SEO has a lot of pros, there are a few cons.
SEO takes time; at Eldie Web Design, on average, our clients start seeing results within 3 to 6 months. However, it varies based on the competition for the keywords you’re ranking for and really just Google’s algorithm. SEO is optimizing so that Google likes your pages, and some days Google might like other pages more than yours. If you’re just starting out and there are other businesses ranking for the keywords you want to rank for, it could take even longer to start seeing results. PPC is going to get you traffic more quickly than SEO, but as soon as you stop paying for it, all your traffic is gone. That’s why, as I mentioned before, SEO is a long-term investment.
I already mentioned that it can be hard to rank for competitive keywords, but this may be the biggest con of SEO. If you’re trying to rank for words that aren’t also being optimized by other businesses, it will be very easy! If you’re choosing competitive keywords, it can be a little bit more complicated. We use an SEO tool to see how many times different words are being searched in Google, as well as a score indicating how difficult it would be to have your website rank high for that word. This can really help your business decide what keywords you want to optimize for. You can also find out what your competitors rank for and we can help steal your competition’s traffic and bring it to your website so that you’re not only getting keywords that you’re going after but also what your competitors are going after.
PPC is advertisement where you pay for clicks on your website. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your website. This requires constant investment; which means when you quit paying, your ads go away. Search engine advertisement is a popular form of PPC where advertisers bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches a keyword related to their business. With trust heavily stacked in favor of organic search, why would a business look at paid search? A lot goes into building a winning PPC campaign, so we’re going to talk about some of the pros and cons. Again, let’s start with the pros.
PPC allows you to start showing up as soon as you start paying. It can be created in days and ramped up in weeks to where all kinds of people are seeing it. This is definitely the fastest way to get in front of customers. And with speed comes agility. You can get very fast feedback on a new product launch by running a short PPC ad campaign. Unlike SEO, when changes occur, there seems to be little suffrage before your ad is back on top again. Especially if you have multiple on mobile and desktop; users will always seem them even if they scroll past them. Careful use analysis of search term reports can allow for the removal of junk searches.
With PPC, you have the ability to target specific types of users, like potential customers. Ads can be targeted by search keywords, day of the week, time of day, language, device, and audiences based on previous visits. This can help with brand visibility. Running your paid ads can get you in front of the right people. Even if they conduct a brand search before clicking on your website, that visibility will pay a profit to your marketing. Since you pay for the actual click on the ad, you can guarantee some level of traffic, but the amount of traffic can vary greatly. If you get 100 visits, you’ll pay for 100 visits. If you get 0 visits (which is unlikely), you’ll pay nothing.
PPC has some benefits, but it ultimately has more cons.
There is no longevity. While it is nice that PPC gives you immediate visibility, the reverse side of this is that leads dry up as soon as you stop paying for advertising. This alone makes PPC too expensive for a lot of companies. If you add in the time it takes to stay on top of your PPC campaigns, you can really see the cost start to add up. You constantly have to optimize and improve your ads to get the best outcome. It’s going to be harder to see the results of PPC if you don’t fully commit and stay on top of it. As long as you have enough money to keep PPC ads running, then you will have no problems. However, in contrast to SEO, it an seem like a bad deal.
A common thing when partaking in PPC is getting into bidding wars with other companies. A bidding war happens when two advertisers want to outbid each other to get their ad in that top position. These are expensive and time consuming. PPC isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of advertising method, but you shouldn’t have to monitor it constantly. There’s no way to tell exactly how much your competitor is paying per click, so you just have to up your cost over and over. AdWords did invent a quality to score to try to prevent this from happening. Now, the highest bid isn’t always guaranteed the top position. While bidding wars aren’t as common anymore, they do still occur; and when they do, they can exhaust your budget very quickly.
PPC literally means pay per click, so that’s what you do: you pay for each click. As I mentioned earlier, the average cost per click is $2.32. If your business is getting very few clicks, then that price doesn’t sound too bad. However, you obviously want your business getting the max amount of clicks you can get. Let’s say your business starts getting 1,000 clicks. You’d be paying $2,320 just for clicks on your website, and that doesn’t always lead to sales. PPC ads help get users to your site. You still have to convince users to buy from you once they’re there. Before you run PPC ads and get discouraged that they’re not converting more visitors, you need to understand that most users do not convert. In most cases, 1 out of 10 users actually end up purchasing from a business after using a PPC ad.
The biggest problem facing PPC marketers is click fraud. Click fraud is when someone exploits online advertisers by repeatedly clicking on a PPC ad to generate fraudulent charges. It drives up advertising cost, as well as skews data for online business. This is most commonly done by competitors; if click fraud is done effectively, it could push a competing business out of the market. You can monitor interactions in your Google Ads account to watch for click fraud. If you suspect it, you should report it! You can also use different tools to help protect you against click fraud, as well as trying strategies yourself if you do not want to pay for protection. You’re already paying for the ads, so you don’t want someone running up your cost even more.
SEO vs. PPC
Now that you know some of the basics of SEO and PPC, it’s time to decide which one is right for your business!
Ultimately, the two work best together. However, if you’re starting out with a small budget, it’s best to focus on SEO. If you have a medium to large budget, you can do both! SEO can be effective on its own, but it’s hard to say the same about PPC. At the end of the day, your goal is to grow your business and increase sales. To do this, you need to boost traffic to your website in some way. Either option is viable for helping your business, but we are partial to SEO.
Ready to get started? Contact Us Today so the experts at Eldie Web Design can start filling your long-term SEO needs!