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

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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5 Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid in 2018

5 Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid in 2018

In this digital landscape, SEO is considered to be an important practice for content marketing that aims to increase your website traffic and overall presence through search engines. Whether you’re an SEO expert or someone who’s just learning how to implement this strategy, it’s pretty easy to neglect some of the other underlying aspects that envelop the realm of SEO. Oftentimes, some may fail to realize that there’s so much more to learn about the discipline than just keyword rankings alone. Before proceeding any further, it’s also worth mentioning that Google algorithms constantly evolve its ranking factors, so staying up-to-date is an essential skill if you want to be ahead of your competition! Below, here are some of the most common SEO mistakes businesses make and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1:  Utilizing “Black Hat” SEO techniques instead of the “White Hat” approach. What are the differences?

Now what does it mean when people use “Black Hat” and “White Hat” SEO techniques for their content? First off, both of these approaches share a common goal of gaining exposure, but the execution is completely different. Essentially, black hat SEO could be seen as an easy way out of earning higher rankings and quicker results. Although it could be convenient for some, it’s not worth the risk of having your site penalized or even banned from Google and other search engines. These techniques include:

・Using unrelated keywords that are irrelevant to your content piece. To maintain consistency throughout, optimize your content around keywords that you believe your target audience will search for. To assist you with keyword research, you can check out Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Moz’s Keyword Explorer

・Automated content that has no value for your target audience. This strategy mainly generates low-quality backlinks which makes zero sense to your content piece, therefore making your company look untrustworthy and uncredible

・Flooding your content with spam, which is unwanted and intrusive that serves no purpose to users who are looking to find what they need

・Gateway pages that lead users to a separate, unrelated page

Presenting your content to users that is different from what is shown to search engines, also known as cloaking

・Scraping content from one site for the benefit of another website

Since black hat SEO is the bane of content marketing, most companies are geared towards white hat SEO since it focuses more on developing quality content and organic linking. These include:

・Effective and relevant keywords for better traffic and potential conversion

・Meta descriptions, which show one or two sentences in the search engine results below your page title.

・Internal and relevant backlinks that will draw users to delve into your website

・Creating your own long-form and high quality content which is one of the essential factors of increasing your search engine ranking

Mistake #2: Developing low quality and thinning content

As briefly mentioned under a white hat seo approach, long-from and original content is one of the steps of gaining a higher search engine ranking. Whether people are searching for solutions or reading to learn, it’s never a fun experience to come across something that has little to no value for them. That is referred to as thin content which is one of the violations under Google’s
Webmaster Quality Guidelines. Not only will that harm your SEO, but it also steers potential customers away from your brand, resulting with a higher bounce rate (percentage of users who visited your website and leave without viewing your other pages). Showcasing low quality content makes your website look unreliable and uncredible, so it’s time to change your methods and compose content that truly matters for the audience. In terms of word count, how many words should you produce? Although there’s no specific requirement, many reputable SEO sources have proven that an
average of 1,500 words or more. Therefore, long-form content is beneficial which results you with better online visibility, increased time on the site, and overall higher ranking in search engines.

Mistake #3: Neglecting User-friendly Experience 

User experience goes hand-in-hand with SEO and it’s crucial to provide a user-friendly interface that is quick, convenient, responsive and easy to navigate. Every second counts and nothing is more troublesome than having to encounter loading delays! Not only will that cause users to abandon your page –  it also impacts your search engine ranking and revenue. In order to transform your site towards a better user experience, you also need to ask yourself:

Is it mobile-friendly? Times are changing and nowadays, many users use their mobile device to access your website. To determine if your site meets the requirements in terms of mobile-friendliness and speed, check out Google’s free resource tool
Test My Site which evaluates your overall site performance. Another tool which can be used to check website speed is Pingdom Tools.

Is it safe and secure? Since online security became one of the most important ranking factors, Google began to implement a way to distinguish unsecured sites. If your site is unsecured or unsafe, your chances of reaching a high search ranking will be slim to none compared to secured sites. Because secured sites transform into higher conversion rates, it’s highly recommended that you get an SSL certificate since it protects sensitive information and prevents hackers from decoding.

Mistake #4: Ineffective keyword strategies

Before delving into your written component, it is important to know how you’re going to execute your content strategy. Indeed, keywords are important but in today’s complex algorithm, you need to be careful with how you go about it. How do you know which keywords are worth optimizing? How are you going to deliver your information? In order to develop high-quality content, here are some of the most dangerous mistakes you should avoid doing:

・Keyword stuffing: This is where you tend to overuse the same keywords in hopes of boosting your rankings. Not only will this harm your SEO performance – this make your content look unnatural, spammy, and unreadable. For example: Come try out our vanilla ice cream!  Vanilla ice cream is one our top sellers and the vanilla ice cream is made from scratch! This vanilla ice cream is also affordable, so buy our vanilla ice cream today!

・Optimizing for the wrong keywords throughout your content: In SEO, there are a lot of keywords that you can choose from, but are you certain that you’re using the right ones to optimize? No one said that SEO is easy. Before going further into keywords, there are two types to look out for: short-tail and long-tail SEO.

・Short-tail is generic and contains phrases that have less than three words. An example of short-tail would be “pajama sets”, “organic foor”, “running shoes”, etc. If you are looking to gain more volume for your site, then using short-tail would be an effective approach since the shorter the keyword, the higher organic traffic you’ll receive. Although some may believe that this strategy equates to better results, it could also be problematic and risky. Mainly, broader keywords generally have a lot of competition where big name companies constantly fight for their top page rankings. Therefore, small or maybe even medium sized companies will have a difficult time breaking through the rankings with the well-known establishments. You’ll also be looking at a higher cost just to gain online presence and low conversion rates since short-tail is so general. When you optimize for a larger picture, what exactly are you trying to gain? Are you trying to attract local customers? Are you aiming for high conversions? This is where the importance of long-tail SEO come into play.

Essentially, long-tail is more specified and contains phrases that have more than three words. An example of this would be “Black nike running shoes”, “How to troubleshoot a macbook air”, “Pajama sets made of cotton”, etc. Although you won’t get as much volume, you’ll be getting visitors who are actively looking for what you are selling. If you are optimizing for long-tail phrases, it plays a huge part towards an increase of conversion rates from visitors to customers. Not only will you be gaining more profit – you’ll also have low competition that is easier to rank for along with a better focus on what you’re trying to target.

So which one should you optimize for? Ultimately, it all depends on your business needs and wants. But, you need to be mindful of the pros and cons of both keyword strategies.

Mistake #5: Not Utilizing The Power Of Website Analytics

When you implement your SEO and content strategies, how will you know if your efforts work or don’t work? Website analytics has always been the prime of reflecting how your optimisation is performing and affecting your business. Numbers can play a huge factor and it’s crucial to get into the habit of reviewing your analytics daily in order to improve and thrive.

Always remember that it’s not just ranking your keywords. You also need to consider the following metrics:

・Organic traffic – If you need to see whether your SEO is successful or not, traffic is one of the main indicators to look out for. This metric is referred to users who land on your page through search engines when they search for what they are looking for through keywords.

・Bounce rate – This is represented by users based on how they interact with your website. Because it tells you about the quality of your site, It’s important to have a compelling landing page so users can be more engaged.

・Click-through rate (CTR) – Mainly, CTR measures how many users click on your ads or links after seeing it. Since it indicates how well your pages are ranked in search engine results page (SERPs) and how engaging your content is, it’s one of the many metrics that you should pay attention to.

・New and returning visitors – Generally, visitors indicate whether your content is engaging enough for them to come back or if they’re a new user who’s just checking out your products and services.

・Pageviews – It’s all about the engagement and it represents how well a particular page is. If one of your pages is generating more traffic, you can use that as a template to create more compelling content.

Once you figure out what you need to improve on, you can implement those changes towards better results. One of the most popular tools that is widely available today is Google Analytics which provides you insight on website performance and monitors the progress of the campaign.

Final thoughts and Conclusions

The power of SEO will continue to rise since it provides credibility, improved traffic, insight into your audience, and generates a higher ROI (return on investment). Now that the main SEO mistakes are highlighted, there is always a solution to every problem. You can always start improving your ranking by:

Building your strategy through intensive keyword research and an outline on how you are executing your plan

・Updating your content frequently, whether it’s through blogging, social media, video, and other mediums

・Utilizing white-hat SEO methods into practice, which contain ethical techniques as opposed to the deceptive black-hat SEO

・Being adaptable to upcoming changes and consistently tracking your progress through your analytics tool

Once you start to execute your SEO strategy, you’ll probably wonder “How long will it take for the results to show?” The only answer I can give you right now is that it takes a lot of patience. Some say that it could take a few weeks or even months to see your progress. It’s hard to rule out the expected time frame, but oftentimes, many people don’t realize that bringing SEO into practice will not provide you instant results. Realistically speaking, it’s actually impossible to do so overnight since it is a long-term investment that requires dedication, effort, and hard work.

In every content marketing strategy, you’ll always come across SEO at some point. However, if you find yourself doing one of these SEO mistakes, don’t beat yourself up for it. They’re actually quite common and many people have done them at some point in their career. It takes time to master the art of SEO, but it’s better to know what the common errors of SEO contain. Always remember to stay ahead of the game and there’s always room for improvement!

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