SEO or PPC?

SEO or PPC?

Something we get asked every now and then is “what would work best for my brand, SEO or PPC?”.  There is no simple answer as both can work for a brand depending on its objectives. 

SEO or to give its full title, Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most essential marketing tools and involves ongoing maintenance and management of your website’s content in order to get your website noticed by search engines such as Google.  Getting noticed isn’t the only goal, you also want to appear in as high a position within search result pages as possible when your intended audience uses appropriate and relevant search terms.

These search results are what is known as “organic” search.  SEO uses a variety of techniques ranging from optimising your website to make it search engine friendly through to the use of strong and good quality on and off-site content that people might link to or from.

PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, on the other hand is paid for advertising.  In short, you create campaigns and bid on keywords with the aim being to appear in the advertisements that run alongside the organic search results.  The bidding process is somewhat automatic, you assign a maximum bid for a specific keyword or phrase and an algorithm uses this along with a few other factors to decide when and where your ad will appear.  You only pay once somebody clicks on your advertisement. 

Generally, a well balanced and strategic marketing campaign might use a combination of both.

Before you head over to Google AdWords and enter your credit card details, there are a few things to bear in mind.

The importance of appearing high within search engine rankings cannot be overlooked.  Statistics have shown that generally, internet users conducting a search will not go beyond the first two pages when searching for a service or product, so you need to ensure that your brand’s visibility is good.  Obviously its no good just appearing there, you want people to click through to your website!

Part of SEO is to encourage people to do just that and visit your website off the back of a search and an important aspect of PPC is to write an effective ad to achieve the same goal. 

The main thing to bear in mind is that its more common for internet users to click on an organic search term than an ad, people trust ads less.  The advantage of PPC is that its timely, within a day, with a well designed ad and a well thought out bidding strategy, you could well be appearing at the top of the first page of search results

The downside of PPC is that it can become quite expensive.  For your ad to appear consistently, you have to bid competitively against your competition and in certain markets, you may end up paying a lot of money per click.  Its important to keep on top of your budget and analyse whether you’re achieving a good return on investment from your PPC campaigns.

Although with SEO there may be a bigger gap between investment and results, once your website starts to become visible in search results, people will start clicking through to your site without you having to pay for that privilege.  However, SEO isn’t just a case of doing it once and then sitting back and waiting for the website visits to come in, in order to retain your healthy ranking, SEO should be an ongoing process if you want to keep up with your competitors and also the changes that search engines make to the ways they rank web pages. 

In closing, there are obvious benefits to both practices, but we would suggest that a well balanced and well planned marketing campaign can benefit from a good mix of both.  SEO should be an ongoing practice, while PPC can bridge a little exposure gap for you until the organic traffic starts gaining momentum. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about SEO or PPC or would like to talk to us about how we can help, get in touch with us today for an informal chat.