If You Build It, They (Won’t Necessarily) Come
Generating website traffic is not easy for any business. Despite what you are led to believe by the occasional success story or your favorite YouTube content creator, it is unlikely people will simply stumble upon your business online.
The internet is far too vast for that to happen, and there are so many brands and businesses competing for attention that if you leave it up to luck, you will soon be wishing you hadn’t.
This is not Field of Dreams, just because you built it, does not mean they are going to come.
So if that is the case, how do you drive people to your website and get noticed in the sea of businesses and brands trying to accomplish the same? The short answer is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click Ads (PPC).
With SEO being the more well-known term of the two, but with both still having plenty of misconceptions around them.
Hopefully, this article can clear some of the confusion and help you increase lead generation and drive sales to your business.
Everything Starts With The Search Engine
Just as with any new practice, Search Engine Optimization or Pay Per Click can be a bit intimidating at first and can seem expensive at first as well, but if given time and if best practices are followed, SEO and PPC campaigns will more than pay for themselves.
According to Search Engine People 93% of all web experiences start with a search engine, whether that be Google, Bing, Yahoo, or others. To further understand that statistic, Google alone processes about 3.5 billion searches per day as reported by Internet Live Stats. This reliance on search engines for a vast majority of web experiences has led to 61% of all marketers reporting SEO and PPC to be their highest requested services according to HubSpot.
So What Is The Difference Between SEO and PPC?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about your business.
The content on your website, and following the best-practices managing your content in order to show search engines that your website is an industry authority with valuable information. Proving to the Search Engines that your content is worth showing to their Search Customers.
The higher your website is on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) leads to increased brand authority and a much higher click-through rate (CTR).
This leads to increased traffic, increased leads, increased sales, and a better Return on Investment (ROI) for your business. Being one of the top three to five organic (non-paid/ad) results of a search makes your Brand appear as an authority in your industry.
This will entice other industry websites to want to link to you, creating a win-win scenario by helping those sites to climb in the rankings while also solidifying your high authority position.
“Clark, That’s The Gift That Keeps On Giving The Whole Year”
The one downfall of SEO is that in order to get to that higher ROI, it may require a higher initial investment in your overall digital marketing budget.
Your SEO investment must be given time to kick in as well -- trackable results begin to show around the end of the third month.
Moving too quickly or doing too much too soon can result in your site becoming “Overly Optimized”.
However, as your SEO effort begins to work for you, your investment costs may decrease without the SEO campaign losing its effectiveness.
Therefore being a gift that keeps on giving, even after the taps are turned off.
Search Engine Optimization offers long term sustainability compared to a Pay Per Click campaign. Once you have achieved a top spot in the organic search page rankings, it can be incredibly hard for competitors websites to overthrow you. Even when you are now spending less and less, and they are spending more and more.
“You’re Either Getting Better Or You’re Getting Worse”
You (or we should say your website) never stay the same. This quote from the famous Ohio State Football Coach Woody Hayes is true even in the case of Search Engine Marketing. Your webpage’s relevancy score can become a factor. As the site’s content ages, your relevancy of that content may decrease over time.
And so, the budget for your SEO effort will never go to zero as there will always be some level of maintenance involved, but the longer the campaign, the less cost is involved.
Your Search Engine Optimization strategy requires a solid internal link structure among your entire website, however, it also must encompass the greater market of visitors to your site. If done correctly, SEO will have an impact on anyone who views your site.
The Race To The Top With Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay Per Click (PPC) ads are what many people are more accustomed to seeing at the top of a Search Result page. Because of its “pay to play” aspect, a PPC campaign will yield much quicker results while also being quite a bit less labor intensive.
However, the trade-off for this can be the cost. PPC campaigns are a “you get what you pay for” kind of product in that there are a few factors that play into a PPC campaign’s cost.
- How many searches (we call this inventory) are being done for your keywords in a given market.
- How competitive are the keywords you are buying? Do you have a lot of competition for that customer?
- Ad Placement: Where in the paid search results are you appearing? For example, #1 Ad placement can cost significantly more than a #3 spot on the same page.
One strategy is to use a higher initial budget for your PPC campaign until your SEO organic strategy can take hold. Though you may not want to completely quit using PPC, you can certainly decrease your spend.
Digital Marketing Flexibility
PPC campaigns are much more flexible than SEO campaigns. PPC allows visibility not just on your own site and search engine results, but on all kinds of social media platforms and other sites that display banner ads.
Placement and visibility depend on the type of ad, the type of website, the budget you have allotted, and the target audience, all of which gives you and your business more control over your PPC campaign than any SEO campaign. This also allows for faster results.
A/B testing can be done by running multiple versions of an ad at the same time in order to compare the effectiveness and figure out which combination of ads works where to achieve a higher Click Through Rate (CTR). Plus, new markets and locations can be tested without the commitment that an SEO campaign requires.
So Is One Better Than The Other?
In a word, “No”. They both have their place and they should both be incorporated into your business’s marketing budget. The question should be more about how to split the overall marketing budget between the two rather than which method to incorporate.
The goal is to find the balance between the short term and the long term, with PPC being geared for more immediate results and SEO being for more long term results.
Smaller brands and businesses should consider a PPC goal to generate enough profit with the ads to pay for a more comprehensive SEO (and digital marketing) investment.
Just remember that no matter your business’s budget, doing nothing will get you what you always got.
Dot The i Creative’s Columbus Ohio based SEO and PPC Experts can create and assist you with a fully managed SEO Solution and a customized PPC Campaign that will drive leads and sales to your business.
Get Started today with a Free SEO Site Audit to see how you stack up compared to your competitors.