SEO vs PPC: Which should you use?
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Two digital marketing strategies with a singular goal
As a business owner with an online presence, you have likely already heard the acronyms ‘SEO’ and ‘PPC’.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) are two different marketing strategies with the same goal: increasing traffic to your site.
And not only do they aim to increase your website visitors, but they also work to build and establish an online audience, raise brand awareness, capture new leads and drive overall sales and conversions.
So how do you figure out which is best for your business?
Let’s start with defining their differences
Though both SEO and PPC ultimately have the same outcome, there are differences between the two.
And while one is not necessarily better than the other, you may find yourself favouring a certain strategy depending on what your business needs.
If choosing only one of these digital marketing strategies – rather than taking an integrative approach – is your preference, you’ll need to know the pros and cons of each option.
SEO: Pros and cons
The key selling point of SEO is that it increases organic traffic to your website.
And it does!
A good SEO strategy will drive more visitors to your site through specially selected keywords and their implementation. With ongoing SEO, your organic visibility in the search engine results pages will improve.
The more organic visibility you have in Google and other search engines, the more authoritative and trustworthy your site becomes – both in the eyes of your online audience and of the search engine itself.
With more valuable, organic traffic being driven to your site, you’ll see an increase in new leads. New leads lead to new opportunities to convert visitors to customers and, in turn, increase sales.
SEO takes time. Patience and time. A good SEO strategy won’t take 1-3 months to have your website ranking higher, and if an agency makes this promise to you, pick up your coat and walk away.
To get fast results with SEO, you would have to use black hat tactics – bad SEO practices which Google penalises harshly and can even render your website unsearchable.
In reality, it can take anywhere from 6-9 months to start seeing improvements in rankings and website traffic.
Another con of SEO is that Google’s algorithm is ever-changing. This means that what might be a good SEO strategy today could become obsolete in the future.
To keep your site ranking, you have to stay up to date with Google. Because unfortunately, SEO is no one-hit wonder.
PPC: Pros and cons
PPC = instant gratification. With a pay-per-click marketing strategy, you will see short term, instant results.
These instant results give you the ability to execute faster testing, which means you can make changes and improvements to the site based on the data generated from your PPC campaign (e.g. site aesthetic, functionality, checkout process etc).
Because PPC has nothing to do with Google rankings, you’ll be safe from SEO algorithm updates. A paid ad is a paid ad and with it, your site will always be at the top – so long as you pay for it to be there.
PPC doesn’t benefit your ranking in search engines. Though a paid ad pushes your website to the top of Google, it doesn’t affect or improve your overall page ranking.
This means that without your ad, potential customers won’t be able to find you online – and they probably never will.
PPC can also end up being pretty costly if the traffic being directed to your site doesn’t end up converting into a sale.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re paying $2 per click or $50 per click – when potential customers click away from your site without making a purchase, you’ll bear the weight (cost) of it.
And if none of the visitors who click through to your site end up converting? Then you’re left with a hefty fee on your hands and nothing to show for it.
It all comes down to the digital marketing strategy that works best for your business
When it comes to choosing between SEO and PPC, you have to go with the option that will best benefit your business.
Overall, you can think of PPC as instant gratification and SEO as deferred gratification.
While PPC can be tempting because of its ability to achieve instant results, it isn’t the most cost-effective or long-lasting approach. And as soon as you stop funding this strategy, you’ll revert back to square one in terms of Google rankings and website traffic.
SEO, on the other hand, offers a long term approach that will improve your site’s ranking and increase website visitors on an ongoing basis.