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SEO and PPC: How to Choose?

The never-ending tug of war between SEO and PPC has been an internet marketing hot topic for years. Realistically, both paid and organic search traffic can be profitable, and whether you should prioritize one over the other depends on several factors.

Real-world results suggest that those in the know, such as digital marketing agencies and professional web design companies, tend to use a mix of both channels.

This means that you’ll most likely want to combine the two in your digital marketing efforts as well. However, you’ll likely want to utilize one approach more than the other, depending on your specific situation.

In this article, we’ll look at both SEO and PPC in a bit more detail, helping you optimize your search traffic strategy. Let’s start by defining each of them and explaining their benefits and downsides.

[Source: Unsplash]

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Simply put, search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing process that includes all the activities aimed at positioning your website at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

To the uninitiated, SEO sounds like something that takes care of itself if you can provide top-quality content and product/services people are interested in. This is true to an extent, but the art of SEO goes way beyond the quality of your website and products. It is about publishing information in such a way as to convince Google and other search engines that your website will meet the needs of its users.

The list of activities related to SEO is extensive. The activities can be classified in various ways, from those aimed at improving your rank position to those focused on increasing the number of relevant visitors to your website. This complex process affects a particular site’s visibility in “organic” (unpaid) search results.

SEO combines a wide range of techniques and methods of building websites, producing content, and obtaining links from relevant sources in a given industry, all with the aim to position your site near the top of the search results for a given keyword.

In other words, good SEO Agency Greenford ensures a long and healthy relationship between your website and Google.

SEO Benefits

Search engine optimization has long been lauded as a relatively cheap yet effective internet marketing channel. While a good SEO strategy has a wide range of benefits, we’ve decided to single out three of our favorites.

1.       Increased Organic Traffic Volume

The highest positions in SERPs bring the most traffic, and great SEO enables websites to reach these top spots. Also, quality optimization improves click-through rate (CTR) through relevant and informative meta titles and descriptions.

2.       Easy-to-Track ROI

It is easy to extract all kinds of data and measure the results of your SEO activities, so it is easy to track your progress and ROI. Almost every aspect of an online business is trackable these days, so any results achieved in terms of ranking, traffic, and conversions will be easy to relate to your search engine optimization efforts.

3.       Increased Brand Awareness

Since much of your audience uses search engines daily, there’s a lot to gain from a high SERP position in terms of brand awareness. A large number of impressions will keep your brand in your prospects’ minds and lead to them mentally linking your brand with the keywords you’re trying to target.

This enables you to build consumer trust and become a synonym for quality in your industry. It goes without saying that this will lead to increased traffic and profit down the line.

SEO Downsides

Search engine optimization is not a perfect digital marketing strategy, and there are a few challenges you’ll face while utilizing it. Here are the most notable ones:

  • You will have to change your site code — These changes likely will not affect the users much, and they may not even notice it, but they do matter greatly when it comes to “appeasing” the Google algorithm. If your site is currently not well-optimized, this process could potentially be expensive and time-consuming.
  • It may take a while before you see any results — Since organic SEO is a multi-faceted and meticulous process, you’ll probably have to wait at least a couple of months for results to start showing.
  • There are no guarantees of success — Nobody can predict how high your website will rank for a particular keyword since the search engines themselves have the last word, and they’re not particularly forthright when it comes to the ranking criteria.
  • It is not free — Although you’re not paying for clicks, like with the PPC model, you’ll still have to pay SEO experts and potentially invest a lot of your own time if you want to succeed.

What Is Pay Per Click?

Pay per click (PPC) is an internet marketing strategy in which an advertiser pays according to the number of clicks their ad achieves. In principle, this means the company in question only pays for the ad if it works. In practice, things are a bit more complex, but we’ll get to that later.

As part of digital marketing Agency Arbraoth, PPC is most often seen on social networks and in Google search results. If you need many site visits quickly, there’s arguably no better way to achieve that than PPC. It is an excellent option for new businesses in particular, as it allows them to make new contacts fast and start making money early.

Google’s pay-per-click model enables you to always be at the top of the SERPs, towering over even the most-optimized organic results. Most importantly, it allows you to do this practically overnight, rather than waiting for the long organic SEO process to start showing results.

PPC Benefits

Pay-per-click marketing is not cheap, but it can offer a phenomenal ROI if you manage to target your audience well. The reason for this is simple. In theory, you only pay for qualified leads — users interested in what you have to offer. This increases the chances of each new visitor buying your product or subscribing to your service.

Another benefit stems from the fact that the effectiveness of the campaign is really easy to measure. Your ROI will always be clearly laid out, and it will be simple to judge whether your PPC efforts are worthwhile or if you need to make any changes.

Last but not least, there’s the almost immediate impact PPC ads can have on your website traffic. As we explained earlier, organic SEO takes a lot of effort and time, while pay-per-click offers an instant solution.

PPC Downsides

Despite its many benefits, PPC is not perfect either. Its primary drawback has to do with its price. For a campaign to pay off, you’ll need to do more than simply pump cash into it and call it a day. It takes knowledge and expertise to set up a successful PPC campaign. You can take the time to learn the most effective techniques yourself or hire a digital marketing company to take care of it for you.

Creating and posting a PPC ad is not the end of the process. In fact, it is only the beginning. You’ll need to keep monitoring your ad’s performance because you could easily be spending your budget without achieving any tangible results.

The mere fact that someone clicked on your ad doesn’t necessarily mean they’re willing to buy something from you. And the worst thing a PPC campaign can produce is traffic without conversions because you’ll end up paying for the clicks without making any money from them.

This most often happens if your campaign targets the wrong user intent or if your website fails to convince new visitors to buy your product.

Combining the Two Approaches for Best Results

There is a lot of competition out there for the most popular keywords in any given industry. This means organic ranking is difficult and takes a very long time before any actual results begin to show. Therefore, combining SEO with PPC is the optimal solution to achieve a high search engine ranking.

Paying for a high position in SERPs enables you to reach users early on, even if you organically rank only on the second or third page of the results. This allows you to improve your brand’s reputation, boost your revenue, and position yourself well for the most popular keywords.

If you’re designing a new website or redesigning an outdated one, make sure your development team is familiar with search engine optimization or includes an SEO consultant. Doing things right from the very beginning will save you lots of trouble down the line.

Closing Thoughts – SEO and PPC

As you might imagine, the answer to the question of whether PPC or SEO advertising is better for your business is a complex one. Ultimately, it is up to you to choose and develop a marketing strategy that works with your goals and aspirations.

Quality SEO is a more reliable and cost-effective strategy for the long term. On the other hand, great PPC ads will offer you an instant increase in traffic and a considerable boost to brand awareness early on. In our opinion, combining the two is probably the way to go.

Author’s Bio

Christopher is a Digital Marketing Specialist, Project Manager, and Editor at Find Digital Agency and a passionate blogger. He is a devoted and experienced author who loves to pay attention to quality research and details. Focused on new digital trends and voice distribution across different channels, he starts the day scrolling digest on new digital trends while sipping a cup of coffee. In his free time, Christopher plays drums and Magic: the Gathering.