In terms of building traffic and generating income for your business, both SEO and PPC are very effective, and have been used successfully for decades by website owners wanting to increase sales and leads. That said, the two techniques differ significantly in how they are launched, how they perform, and how they translate into traffic.
Many people ask which technique is the best at growing traffic and generating sales. However, this question reflects a misunderstanding of each as they are, in their own ways, equally effective. Instead of attempting to establish one technique as the dominant means for growing a site, it is more effective for website owners to learn about each method. By understanding the differences between the two methods, a website owner can then decide when he or she should use one or the other as a means of driving website traffic.
The Benefits of Search Engine Optimization
1. Requires no upfront expenditure
Because SEO content consists of content you place directly on your site, there are no fees. All you have to do is understand the current SEO techniques that best work with various search engines.
2. SEO Instills trust
When people find your information organically via a search engine, they tend to trust it more than information they discover via an advertisement. For instance, even if an advertisement is honest and accurate, people employ a bit of wariness as they assess that information.
3. SEO Can establish content dominance
Depending on how effective your SEO efforts are, you can eventually dominate the search results for your keywords. As long as you dominate first-page search results, most organic traffic will come directly to you.
4. SEO Helps establish expertise
As more people find you, they will soon come to understand that your content reflects the site owner’s expertise. Additionally, as other content providers link to it, the search engines will consider your site to be among the experts in the field as related to the pertinent keywords.
5. SEO Reaches a vast audience
Once the search engines have categorized your information, that information can reach millions of people.
6. SEO can be focused or general
General keywords can help you get leads from people searching for information about general industries, products, or services. However, you can also use long-tail keywords, which target people searching for an extremely specific product or service. Consequently, you can build brand awareness by reaching general searchers, and you convert more traffic into paying customers by targeting specific people searching for specific things.
7. SEO remains relevant
As long as the keywords are something that people search for over the course of a month or year, your content–written once–remains relevant. This is the basis for passive income, which is monetized content–written once–that continues to earn income so long as the keywords remain popular.
8. SEO legitimacy increases with time
Search engines love longstanding websites, and their rankings partially favor SEO content that has been online longer. Although you must publish regularly to remain in the good graces of Google, for instance, your pre-existing content remains fresh and continues to grow in reputation the longer your site is online.
9. Business to business
Customers find out about your content, services, and products. So, too, do other businesses and blogs. As your site’s reputation grows, other businesses and blogs will link to your site. When this happens, your search results will improve even more.
10. Can bolster several sites at once
11. Can help build lead list
If you combine calls to action with SEO content, you can prompt people to register for opt-in emails that promote products, services, or other information. As this email list grows, your chances of gaining sales also increase because a certain percentage of the email recipients will find your information interesting and make a purchase.
12. SEO is 24/7
SEO content never stops reaching your readers and potential customers. The internet is always on, so your content is working for you every hour of every day.
The Drawbacks of Search Engine Optimization
1. SEO takes some time
People do not always conduct searches immediately, so it will take time for news sites and potential customers to find you. Additionally, your content and website become higher ranked with age. This entire process takes time.
2. SEO requires research
Research is necessary if you want to lessen the chance of ineffective content. This research can be time consuming. SEO is time-consuming, especially if you choose to do it yourself. You have the option to purchase SEO tools or to hire someone to do SEO for you, but that will end up costing real money, not your own time.
3. SEO is never ending
SEO is an ongoing process. Your site will never be 100% “optimized,” it will only get more and more optimized as you put more work into it. The good news is that in the future your rankings will be better and you will hopefully be reaping the rewards of having invested in SEO.
4. Algorithms fluctuate
Search engines have different algorithms that define what information is delivered in their results. Additionally, these algorithms change, so you must always stay atop your content and ensure it meets these fluctuating requirements.
The Benefits of PPC Marketing
1. PPC can jump start a new site
Unlike SEO efforts, the results of PPC are immediate. Within the first few days, for instance, a new site can begin gaining traction in its market.
2. PPC is easily tracked
Advertising companies provide a lot of data that help you analyze your results. For instance, you can get the number of ads delivered versus the number of actual sales. You can track what ads and keywords resulted in registrations and which ads resulted in longer visits on your website.
3. PPC has a healthy ROI
Although PPC is not free, the payouts can be immense, which is why PPC is so popular. Additionally, for certain price points, the relative cost of PPC can be insignificant, increasing your profits.
4. PPC can be easily modified
If your keywords or ad campaigns do not convert, you can make adjustments immediately and see results very quickly.
5. PPC has a high conversion
People who click on an advertisement are interested in at least finding out more about the product in question. A certain percentage of these people will buy as they are primed customers ready to buy.
6. PPC can be laser targeted
PPC ads can be delivered according to parameters that you set. For instance, you might set your parameters to include people between the ages of 24 and 32. You might also specify income and interests. More restrictions help you reach only people in your market, increasing the chance they will find your content relevant.
7. Beta testing
Before publishing content on your site, you can run an ad campaign comprised of certain keywords. Doing so will help you understand what content is proven to reach customers and which content is often ignored.
8. PPC has massive reach
Different advertisement companies reach more people than others, but most of the companies have a host of popular publishers that agree to deliver your ads. Each publisher is usually vetted by ad companies, so your ad is guaranteed to reach millions of people.
9. Quick injection of sales and leads
Because your ads are delivered immediately, you will likely begin receiving purchases immediately. Running PPC campaigns are sort of like employing a sales person who works on commission. You do not have to pay until someone clicks on your ad, and once you get the click, you can quickly get an estimate of the percentage of people who will actually buy. This immediate information allows you to adjust your campaign or increase the number of ads that get delivered and increase your revenue.
The Drawbacks of PPC Marketing
1. PPC costs
You do have to pay for the traffic your PPC campaign delivers. The competition for keywords has never been greater. This may mean you’ll have to pay more later for the same results you’ve been getting.
2. The quality of PPC management companies vary
Some PPC companies will have better paid search consultants. It is important to make sure you are vetting your new PPC company, and then revisiting the goals that were set on a monthly basis.
3. PPC keyword research is time consuming
Researching and selecting effective keywords to bid on is very time-consuming. Managing what you’re spending on keywords, measuring returns, adjusting how much you spend and intelligently playing the PPC game is a basically a full-time job.
4. Turning your paid search ad off makes your ad disappear
PPC is like a faucet: once you turn it off, it stops providing you leads. If you suddenly have to divert your PPC budget to something else, can you survive with the leads that you’re getting naturally?
5. Click fraud
“Click Fraud” is still a problem as some companies use manual clicks or software that simulates human clicks. Your competitors can rapidly rack up your click charges. Google can detect some of this fraud but there are ways to evade this detection.
SEO and PPC: how to use one to inform one another
The reason it is difficult to determine whether PPC is better than SEO or whether SEO is better than PPC, is that PPC can be used to hone SEO, and SEO can be used to drive a very specific advertisement campaign. This fact is the best evidence that they are best used together and should never be used exclusively.
How can SEO and PPC work together to increase traffic, sales, and leads?
- For instance, many website owners launch a website with what they hope is interesting content and the correct keyword targets. However, this content may or may not be something that drives traffic. Additionally, it might not even be something search engines pick up. Site owners can, of course, sign up for a keyword service and write content around the most popular keywords, but this technique can still lead to wasted time in determining which of the keywords convert better into paying traffic. If a site owner uses a PPC campaign, he or she can affordably test specific keyword-based advertisements that get immediate results.
- Gradually, over the course of a few weeks, an online business owner will have data regarding what keywords are popular and which ones convert better. It is at this time that a site owner can then develop content built around this data. Content developed utilizing this strategy will be more targeted than content developed on the fly or based on keyword search data alone. In fact, this content will continue to drive traffic even after the PPC campaign has either ended or has been modified to focus on other products or services.
- Similarly, established SEO content can be used to jump start a specific PPC campaign designed to build brand and customer awareness. Additionally, SEO-based PPC campaigns can be used to help bolster new content.
- SEO-based PPC campaigns can help a site owner re-establish content dominance if another website is encroaching on organic traffic.