The question of SEO vs PPC (search engine optimisation vs pay per click) will always be raised when it comes to which marketing technique should be used in order to drive traffic to a website. Both methods of marketing can be extremely effective in raising the profile of a website by ensuring that it appears as high as possible on the search engine results page (SERP). Appearing on the first page of a search engine such as Google no matter organically or via paid search will potentially expose your website to millions of potential customers and end users.
Although SEO and PPC take two very different approaches they both exist primarily to drive traffic to a website. It is this difference in the approach why the question of SEO vs PPC always seems to crop up in the world of online marketing.
The question of SEO vs PPC by its very nature is misleading as the question that should be asked is what approach would be most effective for the nature of the website involved. If for example, a small personal blog style website requires increased exposure then SEO would be the more effective technique as this would allow the website to grow over time by adding relevant, keyword rich content that users want to read.
More established organisations tend to also follow the route of SEO rather than PPC as this provides much more value for money in the long term and if done effectively the initial effort and costs will be recouped in the longer term with high SERP rankings. In many cases once a larger organisation has captured the top positions on the SERP’s it is extremely difficult for any new organisations to break their hold which is why PPC advertising can be so effective.
PPC advertising when mastered can be an extremely effective way of driving relevant, quality traffic to your website. PPC advertising can also give new starters or websites that have not carried out any SEO work an opportunity to gain a first page presence by appearing as part of the sponsored links. There are however some drawbacks of PPC advertising, the main problem being the costs that can be associated with trying to compete with keywords that are highly competitive. In addition PPC advertising in the wrong hands can lead to lots of money being wasted very quickly on costs per click with little to no return on investment. Using very specific long tail keywords can help to reduce costs and gain a qualitative return on investment.
Usually PPC advertising is a short term strategy as a ‘quick fix’ and is used to supplement ongoing SEO techniques such as link building, quality content writing and social media campaigns in order to yield longer term results. Another effective method of using PPC advertising is to create campaigns during seasonal offers, special discounts or promote services that are only available for a limited amount of time.
In some cases PPC advertising can be used in the long term, however extensive experimentation is required in order to optimise any campaigns in order to try and lower the cost per click and to determine if the profits gained through PPC advertising outweigh the advertising costs.
The questions of SEO vs PPC is something that can be answered by looking at the nature of the website involved. In many cases SEO and PPC should be used as part of the overall marketing strategy to drive users to your website and very often can complement each other very well.
For information and advice on search engine optimisation and pay per click marketing campaigns, please contact Chris.