Expert digital marketers know that driving traffic to a website is the best way to improve customer conversion rates. The average business owner knows very little about the online marketing process, though, which can create hurdles for people who want to play a larger role in creating and running their ad campaigns. It would take significantly more than a simple article to explain everything business owners need to know about online marketing, so let’s start by focusing on one important question: is search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising a better option?
What Is PPC Advertising?
PPC advertising involves paying a fee when users click on ads placed at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). Working with trusted google ppc services is the best way to take advantage of the benefits of PPC advertising, which include its potentially high return on investment.
There are three major categories of PPC ads. They are:
- Text ads, which only include a headline, URL, and up to two lines of description
- Display ads, which can have images, text, videos, or a combination of them
- Shopping ads, which appear when users visit the shopping section of Google or another search engine and can contain visuals as well as text
When used correctly, PPC advertising is a great way to attract new traffic to a website. Because it’s so effective, it can be expensive.
What Is SEO?
SEO involves using a set of established practices to improve a website’s search engine rankings. While business owners typically have to pay an expert to design and implement SEO campaigns, they will, if they’re effective, continue to pay off well into the future. Common SEO practices include:
- Using relevant keywords
- Optimizing title tags
- Adding unique, high-value content
- Ensuring fast load times
- Using internal linking
- Optimizing images
- Building a backlink profile
- And more
Search engine optimization may seem like less of a sure bet because it’s such a complicated process in comparison to choosing keywords and paying for PPC ads, but that’s where professional SEO services come in. These experts devote their careers to understanding Google’s search engine algorithms and coming up with white-hat methods for improving clients’ rankings.
Key Differences Between SEO and PPC
There are many noteworthy differences between PPC ads and SEO campaigns, but only three that business owners really need to understand. They are:
- Placement on SERPs
The purpose of SEO campaigns is to raise a website to the top of the organic search results, so that’s where it will end up if all goes well. However, PPC ads can be found above the organic results. Typically, the first two to three spots are reserved for paid ads, which means that more users are likely to see the ads and, if they are relevant to the query, click on them.
- Placement Cost
Using PPC advertisements means paying not just for every ad but for each time someone clicks on it, so the costs can add up fast. Organic SEO is relatively inexpensive. Because search engines rank results according to how they perceive their value to customers, high-value webpages will rank near the top no matter how much or how little they cost to make and optimize. That said, it’s worth paying for high-quality SEO services when creating and implementing a new campaign.
- Amount of Space Occupied
PPC ads may get the top spots when it comes to SERP real estate, but organic results occupy more space. Organic results can also show up in Google Snippets, Maps, FAQs, and other places, while paid ads will not.
Reasons to Choose PPC
PPC ads offer a surefire way to get content in front of a lot of people, and because it’s possible to target consumers by location, device type, demographics, language, and other factors, many of those people will go on to become customers. PPC ad campaigns also offer far more control over the marketing strategy and provide almost immediate results.
In comparison, SEO is a time-consuming process. It takes a while for even professionally optimized pages to start showing up at the top of the SERPs. SEO also requires business owners or their marketing teams to produce highly unique, reliable, and shareable content. Google prioritizes pages based on perceived authority, so it takes some real work to create SEO-friendly articles, images, videos, and blogs.
Reasons to Choose SEO
SEO tends to be more cost-effective than PPC in the long run, providing a better cost-per-click. Although it still requires an initial investment, the results are long-lasting and tend to grow over time instead of diminishing. Getting the website to the top of the organic search results also helps to improve both brand recognition and reputation in ways that PPC advertising can’t match.
In comparison, PPC doesn’t provide a very good long-term ROI. It requires continuing to spend money for the duration of the campaign, and once the money stops, so do the clicks. People also tend to be more skeptical about paid ads than organic search results, so it doesn’t help brand reputation as much as SEO.
Using PPC With SEO
It should be clear by now that neither PPC nor SEO is a perfect strategy for improving brand recognition and attracting traffic to a site. The good news is that there’s really no reason for business owners to choose just one or the other. PPC ads make a fantastic complement to long-term SEO campaigns because they provide immediate results, while SEO takes time to start working.
The Best Solution
The best solution for business owners that want to boost their websites’ rankings and grow their companies’ online presence is to work with a digital marketing agency that can offer both PPC and SEO services. That way, there will be professional help available throughout both short-term and long-term campaigns, and all the bases will be covered. Just make sure to do some research first and choose a firm that has a good reputation and really can do it all. Research the company’s reputation online and reach out with questions before signing on the dotted line.