When it comes to web marketing, there are two main techniques to assist in driving traffic to your website. These are Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC).
Both have their pros and cons – here we will briefly examine what each method involves, and how you can determine which one is best for your website and business needs.
What is SEO And PPC?
PPC(Pay Per Click), as the name suggests, involves paying for advertising on a click through basis. Currently, the two most popular advertising programs for PPC are Google Adwords and BING/Yahoo Search Marketing, although other programs are available. Your ad will appear under sponsored result listings, and will be prominently displayed when someone searches for the targeted keyword term. When your ad is clicked on, you pay a fee for the lead, with the amount you pay being determined by how competitive the search term is.
Search engine optimization involves maximizing your organic traffic through attaining high positions in the search engine rankings. This involves following basic SEO principles on your website, to ensure that the search engines designate your site as being relevant and of high quality. Effectively, you need to convince the algorithm that you are the ultimate authority in the niche.
How To Determine Which Approach To Use
There are benefits to both approaches. Which method you focus your efforts on will depend on your personal situation and what results you are hoping to achieve. Here are some of the key considerations.
If your business cannot budget a significant amount for Internet marketing, then SEO is the clear winner. SEO needn’t cost anything because the principles are all measures you can implement yourself, although you may want to hire an SEO Gold Coast consultant to give your rankings an initial boost if your knowledge of this area is limited.
On the other hand, PPC need not be expensive. A small budget of $5 to $10 per day is enough to yield results, and you can expand your budget once the clicks start to convert into sales. However, if you are planning on using PPC it is prudent to monitor how many sales are resulting as a direct result of the marketing campaign, to ensure that you are seeing a worthwhile return. Take advantage of any analytical tools offered by the advertising program.
Speed Of Results
Unless you are targeting a keyword with very low competition, it is highly unlikely that you will see your website ranking on the first page of the search listings straight away. It can take many, many weeks before your website achieves a top position, however good your onsite SEO is.
In contrast, PPC will start generating traffic from the moment your ad goes live. Although the disadvantage with this method is, of course, that you will then need to continue with the PPC campaign in order to maintain the same level of visitors.
If you are targeting a popular niche, this will have implications for both SEO and PPC. In SEO, for example, it will be extremely difficult – perhaps impossible – to rank your site at number one if the top spots are currently occupied by authority websites with advertising budgets worth millions of dollars.
PPC has the advantage that the top ad spot will always be allocated to the advertiser who that meets Google’s adwords requirements better than their competition. However, a competitive niche will mean that you will need a much bigger advertising budget at your disposal. There are online tools available which will help estimate what the average cost per click (CPC) is for your chosen keywords. If the CPC is beyond your means, then SEO might be the only viable choice for you.
Longevity Of Results
As long as you can afford to continue to target your chosen keyword, you will always see results from PPC. However, relying on SEO alone will make your website vulnerable to changes in search engine algorithms. Sometimes, these algorithm updates can greatly boost your search engine rankings, but there have been many entrepreneurs who have lost almost all of their traffic overnight after a search engine update – along with all of their earnings.
Many Internet entrepreneurs will occasionally need to test conversion rates for a product or service they are newly offering. This could be testing how many clicks on an e-book sales page convert into sales, or how many visitors sign up to a newsletter. But to test the variables and viability of the changes you have made, you will require traffic. For testing purposes, you will need the fast results offered by PPC.
Effectively utilizing SEO or PPC can involve a steep learning curve. However, carefully researching your niche and your competition can help you better hone your marketing campaign. Both techniques offer a range of benefits, and equally have their individual limitations, but they can also be combined for powerful effect.