If you are a business owner, there will likely come a time when you decide to start doing some form of digital marketing. And while there are several tactics you can go for, there are two that come out top.
Search engine optimisation and pay-per-click ads are undoubtedly the two most popular ones. Both are very effective methods which, when executed properly, can dramatically increase your website’s exposure.
Popular PPC advertising solutions include Yahoo Search Marketing and Google AdWords, and with the right ad, you can appear on top. Contrary to popular belief, the top ad does not necessarily need to be the highest paying one, which means you can outdo a bigger company, with the right ad.
SEO on the other hand is entirely different. It takes time, it takes practice, but a well-executed strategy can get you to the top, and keep you there. The more you invest in SEO, the better your site will do in the long term.
It is not as simple as plastering the words “best accountants in Ireland” all over your website, though; SEO has a lot of strategies which can increase the chances of you appearing higher in search results.
Which one of these tactics is better, though? They are both brilliant solutions, that’s for sure. The best one to use depends on your budget and what your needs are; if you are willing to pay for traffic and need it quickly, PPC may be better than SEO. However, if you want to build up your search engine rankings over time and stay there, investing time and effort in SEO is the way to go.
If you’re still unsure, there are a few key questions and pointers you can think about when it comes to deciding between the two.
Let’s take a look at PPC first –
Do You Want to be Seen Easily?
A PPC advertisement dominates search engine results; users will see the first few paid advertisements before they see any organic results. They can of course choose to ignore them, but your name and offer will still pop up, and can stick in the minds of those who see them. This is a great way to increase brand awareness, and spread the word about your products and offers. Great for new companies who are looking for targeted traffic.
Do You Want to Target Certain People?
PPC gives you a lot of control when it comes to who will actually be exposed to your ad. You are able to let it appear only in certain regions, to a certain demographic or to people searching for a certain thing or using a specific keyword or phrase. Running a PPC advertisement allows your brand or service to be seen by the right people – your target market – and this level of visibility can truly pay off. The trick is of course to know how to do target research, and how to set up the ad properly.
Do You Have Cash to Splash?
The drawback of PPC is that your ad will only be showing up as long as you are paying for it – when the money runs out, there will be no more ads. Certain keywords will also cost a lot, but with the right research, you can find keywords that have high search volumes, but the cost of a click is not too pricey.
When it comes to SEO, there are a few things which make it better than PPC advertising:
Organic Results are More Likely to be Clicked on
People generally don’t like advertisements, especially when they feel they are showing up only because a bran has a lot of money to burn. Today, people like advertising which can be engaged with and tell a story; PPC does not do that.
Also, people who use search engines generally prioritize organic results over sponsored results and are much more likely to click on an organic one. They are widely recognized as more respectable and legitimate. In addition, the popularity of ad blocking software and plug-ins means that less and less people are actually seeing PPC ads.
SEO Lasts Longer
When it comes to shelf life, SEO offers a much better value for money, as the results it drives last much longer than those generated by PPC. When you end a PPC campaign, it’s over and done with. When you end an SEO campaign, everything you have built will still be there, and if you have done it right, it will age well.
SEO is all about building on the foundations you already have, so when you do decide to pick it up again, be it after a month or half a year, you will still have assets to work with. Not investing in SEO for a while does not mean you will no longer be getting any traffic – which is not the case with PPC.
Which Is Better?
Again, there is no definite answer. Whilst SEO has two major advantages when stacked against PPC, there are still a lot of advantages to PPC too. It has the potential to drive a huge return on investment when executed properly and is tailored to an audience which will be interested in your offer. Plus, there is more to PPC than just SERP ads – display advertising can also drive you significant clicks, if you again target them well.
PPC is a good way to kick-start your digital marketing efforts, and great for promoting a specific product or offer, but SEO should be your ultimate tactic. A long-term SEO strategy will convert more leads for you than PPC and will last for a longer period of time. The major advantage SEO has over PPC, though, is that the general public widely regards organic searches as more trustworthy and organic search results cannot be hidden using an ad-blocking software or browser extensions. If you can organically reach the front page of search results, you will be exposed to the right eyes, just like you would with PPC.