SEO vs PPC: What is the difference between these two approaches?

When it comes to unveiling your business to light, two of the most popular practices of online marketing (yet, oftentimes they’re mistakenly interchangeable) are SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click). However, you may encounter a dilemma which will leave you wondering, “Which of the two is best suited for my business?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always clear-cut, but it is an indubitable fact that the success of your business is dependent on the traffic you garnered. Moreover, your generated traffic can potentially be translated into leads and sales conversions, which is like hitting a goldmine!

For small to medium-scale businesses, it’s difficult to decide which strategy is worth investing since they both leverage search engines towards the same end-goal. If done properly, SEO and PPC can be the backbone of your business, but it all depends on your business circumstances. Henceforth, it’s worth knowing the strengths and limitations between these two methodologies. Without further ado, let’s take a look on what they cater and find out the best strategy for your marketing plan.

What are the pros and cons of SEO?

In essence, SEO aims to propel your website to the top rankings on search engines by generating traffic through organic (or non-paid) means. In fact, according to another marketing agency, 59% of B2B marketers SEO has paved the way to their lead generation goals. With the help of SEO tactics, it’s all about producing creative content accompanied with a strong strategic approach to improve your website’s visibility. Don’t miss out on some of the merits that businesses can experience from a well-executed SEO strategy!

How can SEO benefit for your business?

The search engine powerhouses – Google, Yahoo, and Bing – widens your website exposure to your target audience.
Since these search engines offer an endless stream of solutions that customers are looking for, there are over 3 billion Google searches made at this very moment. Moreover, when users find what they need, about
51% of it is through organic search. In order to improve your visibility and traffic, it’s all about the power of keywords, composing meaningful content, and a well-optimized site.

It also helps you with niche targeting, meaning that your business can potentially cater to someone with specific needs. For example, large businesses such as Best Buy can use generalized terms like “computer monitor”. Since it doesn’t mention any of the desired computer specs, Best Buy exposes users of their wide selection on what they offer. However, local businesses can provide specific needs in a given community. Therefore, small or even medium-scale businesses can benefit from using long-tail (more detailed) keywords. Although it doesn’t provide as much volume as short-tail (general) keywords, it’s more targeted and less competitive.

With SEO comes with an Improved ROI (Return on Investment)
Because SEO yields quantifiable results, your efforts can be analyzed and measured. From monitoring your traffic to keeping an eye on conversions, SEO provides you and other companies the ability to delve into your marketing strategy. You can also drill into your engagement metrics and how users interact with your website. For example, if your company is selling products and services, you can check which keywords or key phrases users are searching in order to find your product. If you are looking to improve on leads, you can track how many people have filled out your contact form. All in all, provided with such metrics can pave your way to a successful marketing strategy.

SEO brings heightened potential for conversions, sales, and leads
When someone lands on your website, what are your business goals? Is it to increase your email listing or for more people to purchase your products? Once a customer completes your desired action, that is one step closer to your goal, hence referred to as a conversion. A well-optimized site which mainly includes loading speed, rich content, and site structure (titles, headers, bullet points, navigation, etc) are crucial steps into generating conversation rates.

SEO expands brand awareness
The credibility of your brand is dependent on the links people click on when they are looking for solutions. Being on the higher rankings of the search engine results page (SERPs) does not only result to significant traffic – it translates to greater exposure of your business. Typically, when websites land on the first page on search engines, people tend to instill trust and credibility due to your ranking.

Most importantly, SEO is cost-effective
SEO is applauded to be one of the most cost-effective strategies of online marketing for a reason. Since most of your target users are on the internet, they actively look for what they need online. With strategies including keyword research, content production and more, putting them into practice doesn’t drill a big hole in your pocket. Besides investing on various SEO tools, it mostly requires time and patience. Remember, SEO doesn’t produce results until much later, which could range from a few months to even a year!

Now we know what the advantages are, what are some of the disadvantages?

It’s a time-consuming process
As mentioned before, SEO is an art which requires a ton of cumulative groundwork before bringing your business takes the center of the stage. After all of the diligence you put into your marketing plan, you’ll need to have patience since results don’t produce overnight. Because it takes a considerable amount of time to generate results, your ROI will also take a while. Therefore, SEO may not be the best course of action If you are looking to find immediate results. It’s also worth mentioning that if an agency mentions guaranteed quick results, be completely cautious of them. Chances are, they could be using “black hat SEO” which are damaging tactics that can affect your website on the long-run.

You don’t have complete control over SEO
There are times where you’ll get so little clicks on your website, but on the next day you’ll see a burst of traffic. You may be experiencing some inconsistent outcomes, but that’s completely normal. The truth is, once you get into SEO you’ll have to play by the search engine’s rules. No one really knows how the algorithms work behind the scenes and despite your efforts, you’re not immediately guaranteed to land on the first page in the SERPs.

All about PPC - Pros and Cons

As opposed to SEO,  PPC is more reliant on paid advertisements to generate traffic to your website. In fact, according to another source, an average of 41% of the clicks go to the top 3 ads on the SERPs. With PPC, you can run your ads and the amount you will pay depends on how many people clicked on your ad. For some companies, they choose PPC over SEO due to its immediate results, but of course there’s more to what PPC offers. There are many platforms to execute this, however, the most popular amongst most businesses is Google Adwords and Bing ads. Before delving into your campaign, let’s explore more to find out if PPC is the right fit for your business!

What are the advantages of PPC?

You have more control on your ads
In a PPC campaign, you don’t have to wait for results until its completion since real-time data is now at your fingertips. With a wide array of options to choose from in order to reach your target audience, you can perform tweaks on what appears on your ad, filter which channels you’d like your campaign to be published, and select the keywords you want to incorporate. Not only will PPC provide you with that luxury, but you also have budget flexibility. In other words, you can test the waters by starting with a small budget before capitalizing on the opportunity. Once your campaign proves to be a profitable asset, you can always scale your budget up a little higher!

There is no need to worry about Algorithms
When dealing with SEO, you always need to be on a constant lookout for algorithm changes to prevent your website from being penalized. Moreover, both SEO and the search algorithms work hand in hand, but they’re reliant on website rankings. On a positive note with PPC, all you really to do is ensure your campaign runs successfully without having to worry about algorithmic changes.

You have extensive targeting options
Because you have so much control on your campaign, that gives you the opportunity to ensure full coverage across all platforms as well as gaining brand exposure to a greater scope. By selecting specific demographics, certain locations, time zones, and targeting customers with particular interests, you provide an extended reach to all customers.

There are testing capabilities involved
With PPC, you have a lot of room for experimentation to see whether your ideas will become a success or needs improvement through A/B testing (simultaneously known as split testing). Whether you’re trying to raise awareness or convert more leads, split testing allows you to compare two versions to see which ads perform better. When you’re conducting your A/B testing, always test one at a time and make sure your tests long run enough to collect enough results.

PPC aids you towards your business goals
From online exposure, brand authority, lead conversions, to other engagement metrics, PPC catalyzes your business to accomplish so many goals. Moreover, PPC is trackable and measurable, making it readily available to see which ads are the most effective. With the goals you are trying to achieve, PPC campaigns can be catered to help you meet your end-goal.

What are the drawbacks of PPC?

Can be a pricey route
When you’re using PPC as part of your marketing mix, be careful with your spending because you could be at a risk of losing your income if your campaign is not executed properly. Henceforth, It’s essential to do keyword research beforehand so that you don’t advertise unprofitable keywords. Also, you’re bound to spend more if you’re involved in a competitive industry or if you’re in a bidding war over keywords.

PPC can be complicated
Implementing PPC is not always easy, especially if you are foreign to executing it into your campaign. There are many variables that you need to keep an eye out and you need to ensure your settings are perfect throughout. Although it can be a complex process, it’s definitely worth the time and effort needed to learn how to maximize your ad.

Visibility doesn’t always equate to conversions
Although you may get substantial traffic, it doesn’t always mean that they translate into conversions. For your campaign to work, it’s recommended for you to keep doing split tests, especially on your landing pages. One of the other strategies you can use is remarketing, which allows you to position your ads that targets people who have visited your website before.

Conclusions and thoughts

Ultimately, it’s up to what your business needs are in order to reach your goals. To briefly recap, SEO can benefit you if want to increase your website value and authority. However, PPC can work if you need immediate results or if you need to generate more visibility. Knowledge is power and it’s worth understanding the merits and drawbacks of both digital marketing strategies before bringing your marketing plan to life.

Personally, they’re both significant in their own way. Perhaps it’s worth integrating the two practices as your optimal approach. Overall, you can test your keyword strategy in PPC before delving into SEO and have confidence in gaining both organic and paid visibility. There are many possibilities for you to optimize your website, and it’s never too late to start now.

To learn more visit MRCK marketing.

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