Should You Be Using PPC or SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) are two different ways to have you website and content found through search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. These two different ways to be found on search engines have their benefits and their downfalls. They both have the potential to help with branding, awareness, credibility, increase traffic, increase clicks and return on investment (ROI).
People will argue both ways for which is better and sometimes it simply comes now to personal preference. SEO, being organic, does seem to have a much higher ROI than PPC but sometimes using a paid channel to be found on search engines is worth the extra expenditure to build higher exposure for your brand. To compare these two methods of having web pages found on search engines, let’s take a look at each channel individually.
The beauty of SEO is the long term impact it holds. Unlike PPC it doesn’t have a time limit based on payments. Once you have optimised your site or webpage, it is extremely difficult for competitors to change your ranking. The beauty of SEO of course is that it does not come at a cost. It is an organic channel for getting your content and website viewed on search engines.
If your SEO work is effective, it lasts long term and continues to give you benefit after the effort has been put in. It is a long term, no cost investment geared at generating traffic for your website and having you found easily by your target audience searching for the keywords you have worked so hard to rank for. This can work as a negative also though. It will generate the leads you need, and will do so long term. However, it may not generate them at the speed you need. SEO is more a marathon than a race and while the beauty is long term effectiveness, it can be very slow in the start. Continue to persevere!
So, the biggest setback of SEO is clearly that it is time consuming. Much like many other organic channels for marketing and generating traffic, you need to put in the hard work to truly see results. It works, but getting noticed with the keywords you focus on can take time, commitment and a whole lot of hard work and thought. While it has long term results, it does require upkeep to ensure that you continue to rank well, so don’t think the work is done once you finally get that coveted spot on search engines!
PPC works instantly, once you pay you are able to get traffic coming to your website with ease. You have to pay sufficiently for it to work perfectly, but as long as you have the budget you will be seen. This makes the process very simple and easy. It generates results quickly and easily, very effective for short term goals and objectives.
It’s also considerably easier than SEO, you don’t have to put as much time and effort into getting the process right and finding ways to be found with specific keywords. You also get to be very specific and choose a lot of how you are seen, where you are seen, what words you rank with etc.
However, PPC holds no long term value and as soon as you stop paying, you are no longer seen. It can also be fruitless. If you choose PPC in the wrong way, you could be found by searchers with no interest in what you have to offer. It seems so effective and simple that it is easy to get caught up in the numbers. Remember the cost and the competition. Don’t lose sight of ROI and risk high costs with results insufficient for those costs.
One of the main reasons SEO can be seen to be more advantageous than PPC is that people are not immune to ads, even on search engines and often they will choose to click on organic results than ones identified as ads. So, on top of of the ROI advantage of SEO, it is also a more efficient way to be found based on typical consumer behaviour on search engines.
When considering which to use to get your website exposure, remember that both clearly do have their benefits so don’t count one out for the other straight away. Look at the positives and negatives for each situation and use the right channel in that instance. Understand your goals, budget and time frame. Figure out from there which would be more effective at the right time and remember that you don’t have to choose between the two, if you have the time and the team you can work on both to really create a strategy for short and long term success being found on search engines.