The decision to invest in a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing — or both simultaneously — depends on the state of your business and specific marketing goals. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, there are a few universal truths about SEO and PPC that can inform your decision.
PPC produces faster results while SEO is a long-term strategy.
With PPC marketing, your business can be visible on Page 1 of Google within days. It is a fast way to gain visibility above-the-fold since paid search results are shown above organic results on search engines like Google. On the other hand, gaining optimal rankings in organic search can take some time. In fact, a new website can expect 6-12 months to achieve decent rankings in organic search results. Search engine optimization is certainly not an overnight process. So, why even bother?
SEO typically produces better results than PPC.
While PPC can be instantaneous, SEO offers better value in search marketing. For every click on a paid search result, an organic result gets 8.5 clicks. Even though a user has to scroll past the paid results to get to the organic listings, they are still more likely to click on an organic search result. One study found that over 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic. SEO is a long-term strategy that can bring long-term benefits.
PPC offers improved ads and targeting.
With PPC ads, you have more control and real estate to deliver your marketing message. In addition to a headline, PPC ads can also include click-to-call options, sitelinks, and callouts (bullet points) that make your message stand out more among other listings. You can also target your ads to the specific audience you want at certain times of day in specified locations. This granular level of control is something that is limited within organic listings which are largely controlled by Google’s confusing and often-changing algorithms.
SEO offers the advantage of local optimization.
With a search engine optimization strategy, you can really hone your local presence — something that has started to dominate search results. With the increase of mobile searches and voice searches, local SEO is essential for businesses.
Both SEO and PPC require healthy budgets.
Unlike PPC, you are not charged for clicks on your organic listing. However, this doesn’t mean that SEO is a cheaper option. On the contrary, SEO requires a healthy budget over a long period of time. Paying for just a few months of search engine optimization won’t produce the results you’re looking for. With PPC marketing, you can have tighter control over your budget (setting bid limits and fixed spends per day), however, it too requires a certain level of investment in order to see any significant results.
In many cases, an integrated approach that utilizes both SEO and PPC is optimal. Talk to a marketing expert to determine if this is a good option for your business. Depending on your business, the competitor landscape, and the services/products you provide, one option may produce better ROI than the other. Regardless of which route you choose, be sure you are ready to invest both time and money into the management of these strategies. Successful SEO and PPC require skilled management and consistent optimization. If you are too busy to do this properly, consider hiring a marketing agency like Addison Clark to manage your strategy for you.