Over the last few years, developments in online marketing have changed the way we work forever. From social media, blogging and tweeting through to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns, there are literally endless inventive ways to promote your business online.
SEO and PPC are generally regarded as more substantive, ‘traditional’ approaches to driving traffic direct from search engines. Considering how often online marketers tend to bandy these terms around however, for many the benefits and drawbacks of either remain unclear. In this article we’ll try and deconstruct the myths surrounding this much-debated topic.
PPC or SEO – Which Is Best For You?
Billions of searches are performed on the major search engines every week, and a large percentage of those searches are made by people who are actively looking for products and services to buy online. So how does SEO and PPC differ and which will help you win more web traffic.
What’s the Difference?
Both SEO and PPC relate to driving traffic to a website directly using search engine results. More confusingly, both achieve similar results using very different methods.
An SEO strategy aims to optimise a website with a view to achieving healthy ‘organic’ rankings. PPC involves paid advertisements (on a pay-per-click basis) which appear in the sponsored column found to the top and side on most search engine results pages.
Short Term vs. Long Term
PPC can be set-up virtually immediately, with visible results within the first few days. Optimising web content with keywords, metatags and so on could involve months of testing using multiple strategies before any results are seen.
As such, PPC could be viewed as a useful tool in relation to short-term promotions and new websites looking for a quick boost. Longer-term, SEO offers a viable route to sustained traffic via consistent rankings.
It’s difficult to weigh which approach actually offers a greater return on investment – there are a great number of external factors involved. PPC represents the greater short-term investment by charging each time a visitor clicks through. Monitoring results carefully however, this approach represents little in the way of risk as cost can be adjusted as required.
On the other hand, SEO could prove to be truly cost-effective by providing consistent added value over a sustained period.
Well known providers such as Google and Yahoo provide PPC customers with comprehensive tracking results as standard. Clicks, leads and sales can be tracked from the word go, allowing users to measure cost per sale.
Measuring SEO results may not be as straight forward, but still possible to do with any good website analytics package. Website analytics can be a complex subject – which may discourage first time users – but shouldn’t put you off considering a full SEO strategy.
How About Both?
Really it comes down to whether you’re looking for short or long-term results. The most effective online marketing strategies will often use elements of both, in conjunction with other platforms such as blogging and social media.
For example, once a website is returning healthy organic rankings, PPC can be an effective compliment to your longer-term strategy by:
- Targeting specific keywords
- Pushing promotions and driving traffic
- Testing strategies such as new keywords and landing pages
- Promoting areas of the site not showing healthy result
If you would like a no-obligation consultation to get SEO and PPC marketing working for your business, please call 01454 261111.