When it comes to digital marketing, there are plenty of ways to get visitors to your website.
The two most common forms are: search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) marketing; but there are plenty of others including social media, referrals, and banner ads.
Although there might be various ways to get traffic to your site, none of them gets as much hype and attention as SEO and PPC.
When it comes down to SEO vs PPC, website owners always want to know which one is the best. Their friend might be killing it with SEO, but another online guru might have told them that PPC is the next big thing. With so many different opinions and advice, many webmasters can often feel confused and paralysed.
What they really want to know is:
Is one marketing strategy considerably better than the other, or is it a close call?
If you’ve had a website for a while, then the chances are you’ve experimented with at least SEO, if not both. Maybe you’re questioning if you made the right choice and if the other would have benefitted your website better. Or maybe you’re just interested in learning about new ways to drive traffic. Whatever the reason, we’re here to tackle the question head-on.
Ask any digital marketing group on SEO vs PPC, and you’ll be greeted with a whole range of answers from people on both sides. Some people swear only by SEO while others only use pay per click marketing to generate traffic. So, which exactly is the best? And why is it the best? Let’s find out.
What Is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Search engine optimisation, also known as SEO is all about getting relevant organic search traffic to your website through search engines. Depending on your industry and how competitive it is, it can take a long time to see good SEO results. Some businesses spend thousands a month in order to improve their rank, but is it worth it?
The good thing about SEO is that once you get to the higher ranks, you tend to stay there. As long as your competition isn’t actively engaging in SEO to beat you, you can stay in the same position for months. This means if you have a high traffic keyword with over 10,000 searches a month, if you rank in the top 3, you’ll be getting a big slice of organic search traffic.
SEO can also be relatively cost-effective. If you have the expertise to do it yourself, then it won’t really cost you much, just your time. On the other hand, if you want to leave it to the professionals it can cost you anything from a few hundred to thousands a month. It might sound like a lot but when you think about the amount of traffic and conversions you’ll be getting, you can still make a profit.
What Is Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing?
Pay per click marketing, also known as PPC is all about getting instant results and visitors from relevant keywords on search engines. In only a matter of minutes, you can set up a PPC campaign and watch visitors come to your website. It might be very easy to set up a campaign, but if you want to see good results, then you need to put in a lot of planning and effort.
The beauty of pay per click marketing is that it allows highly targeted visitors to come to your website. Not only can you target the location of the user but you can also drill down to their age, background and income. Of course, having the ability to laser target users comes at a high price.
Depending on the keyword you can get bids from as little as a few pence, but if you target the more competitive keywords, it can easily reach hundreds. Luckily you get to control how much you want to bid for a keyword. However, bid too little and you might not end up in the top results on the first page. Instead, you might be pushed down to the bottom of page 1, or worse to page 2! Not only does this reduce the number of people that see your ads but it also means you’ll get a lower click rate.
SEO vs PPC Showdown
So, now you know a bit about both strategies, what are the advantages of them both?
SEO is great for a long-term traffic strategy that doesn’t bust the bank. This is best used on things like your main website and product pages to attract visitors.
PPC, on the other hand, is a great short-term way to get traffic to your website. Maybe you’ve launched a new product or its the Christmas season, PPC is an excellent way to get an extra influx of visitors.
SEO vs PPC: Which Is Better?
You might be a bit disappointed, but there is no winner.
That’s right, after all that, there isn’t a winner!
How come? Well, you shouldn’t be viewing them as one or the other, but in fact, you should be viewing them together. Why side with SEO or PPC when you can utilise the power of both for your website?
SEO is great if you want to develop long term traffic, but it can take several months before you start seeing results. PPC, on the other hand, is pretty much instant but costs a lot more money. Using SEO for your main website and PPC for individual landing pages you can get the best of both worlds. Also, if you are just starting out on your business, you may consider investing in PPC to get your first few customers while investing in SEO for the long term.
Over the long term, you’ll increase your search ranking for main keywords while in the short term you’ll attract laser targeted visitors who are very likely to convert. This means you get the best of both traffic sources without having to spend too much money and without having to wait forever.
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