Maximize Your Marketing Budget by Choosing the Right Traffic Strategy
Driving traffic to your website may be the single-most important factor of any successful Internet marketing strategy. If you don’t get any visitors, you certainly won’t get any leads or connect with new clients. So let’s compare SEO and PPC – the two best strategies for driving people to your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves creating website and online content that attracts visitors from the search results page. Search engines, like Google and Bing, use proprietary algorithms and machine learning to determine how relevant your content will be to a searcher. If you score well, you’ll be ranked highly on the search results. Thus generating more people clicking to your website.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising involves displaying ads on search engines, social media, and other websites. You pay when someone actually clicks on your ad (hence the term pay per click). Popular platforms like Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook allow you to show ads in prominent positions all across the web, like in the search results or on affiliate websites.
Both SEO and PPC are very effective at driving traffic… When practiced right. They each pack their own set of benefits and drawbacks for your business.
So which method works best for you? Or should they both be used simultaneously?
By the time you’re finished reading this article, you should have a good understanding of these methods and know what will work for your business.
Fast Comparison of SEO and PPC
Let’s quickly highlight some of the most common attributes of SEO and PPC.
|Speed||3 – 6 months to start seeing results from your efforts. SEO is a slow practice.||Almost instant. You’ll start seeing traffic as soon as your ads are running.|
|Permanence||Once you’ve achieved the desired results, it’s fairly permanent. It will take a determined competitor some time to take your search ranking.||Traffic will stop as instantly as it started. It’s like renting traffic – once you stop paying the rent you are evicted and replaced.|
|Maintenance||Getting to the top search rank takes a lot of work. Once you are there, maintaining it is a lighter work load. However, you’ll always be working on improving or maintaining your SEO.||After your initial setup, most of the work goes into research and optimizing. You’ll constantly be looking for better traffic and better cost per click value.|
|Strategy||Pick your desired keywords carefully as changing strategy later is a tedious and difficult process. Focus SEO on your more permanent offers, services, and products. You will need to have a well organized website with rich content.||Given the dynamic nature of PPC, you can use it on short-term campaigns and offers (as well as long-term). If you find better keywords or audiences later, it is fairly easy to change course. Be sure to setup landing pages that match your ads.|
|Skill Set||SEO requires technical skill to implement. You’ll need to edit website files and server settings. On top of that, you’ll need to be a decent writer.||PPC requires a bit more of a marketers skill set. Good sales writing for ads and landing pages, understanding client profiles and demographics, and analyzing data.|
Both SEO and PPC require a diverse skill set not often found in one individual.
|Guarantees||There is no guarantees with SEO. You could theoretically spend a lot of time and money to never succeed. Although, usually results are obtained when you focus on relevant search terms and realistic goals.||You only get charged when a click happens. So you are guaranteed to get some traffic for any money spent. However, you will need to be aware of your return on investment: PPC is not guaranteed to make you more than you spend.|
|Cost *||Budget $500 – $10,000 a month. Costs depend on a lot of factors including competition and your goals.||Budget $1,000 – $50,000+ a month. Costs depend on your targeted traffic volume and keyword/audience value.|
* Regarding costs… There are a lot of factors involved in pricing – it’s actually quite complicated. I could write an entire separate article on this topic alone. Numbers provided are estimates based on typical conditions and best practices.
Why Choose SEO?
SEO is like a large train pulling out of a station. It chugs away and barely moves at first. Then slowly gains momentum until it is near impossible to stop.
If your company has limited resources, specifically financial resources, SEO might be the way to go. When a searcher clicks on your website, there are no fees charged.
It’s a bit of a misconception that SEO is cheaper than PPC though. While your monthly budget is likely lower with SEO, you’ll have to consider the length of time it takes to rank and the volume of organic traffic you actually get.
If you compare the return on investment of SEO and PPC over the long-term, it’s likely pretty close. However, businesses are definitely victims of their cash-flow. And from a cash-flow perspective, SEO confers a number of benefits. You can invest small amounts at a time and slowly build up to potentially huge revenue. And it’s revenue that will last – even increase over time without necessarily increasing your monthly investment.
A lot of small businesses opt for SEO because of price and permanence, but lack the patience to see this method pay off. Please be patient!
Why Choose PPC?
PPC is quite fun and exciting. Results stream in fast, and sales go up shortly after.
If your company is looking for aggressive growth than PPC is a must. In the right hands, a PPC campaign can quickly teach you information about your customers, the market, and how to craft the perfect offer.
In this way, PPC is about return on investment and market research. It’s both!
That’s quite valuable. As you learn more about your customers and how they respond to your offers, you’ll start to squeeze more profit out of the same amount of spending.
With that said, eventually you’ll reach your limits on how much you can make off of what you put into it. Campaigns will become limited by budget. And you’ll either need to invest more to increase your results or become content with what you’ve got.
Most people opt to spend more – after all, if the return on investment is positive, then it’s time to grow your company.
Even if you decide to be content with what you’ve got, you’ll need to keep adjusting bids, ads, and other metrics to maintain your market share.
Here’s the catch with PPC though, you could find yourself risking more financial resources than you can afford. While results are fast, getting a positive return on investment (that means making more money on it than you’re putting in) might not happen right away.
Using SEO and PPC Together for Insane Results
While it’s easy to look at SEO and PPC as two different strategies, they work nicely together for insane results.
What really happens when you stick these two together?
- Dominate. You can dominate your market by cornering search results and ad slots for certain keywords. Increasing visibility in internet search results is essential. Using PPC and SEO together increases visibility. Thus, you will drive more traffic to your website and give yourself a strong presence in your market.
- Research. Running SEO and PPC campaigns in conjunction with one another allows you more data to analyze. With this data you can determine which keywords and audiences lead to the highest conversion rates. Thus, you can optimize both strategies based on information gathered from either traffic source.
- Safety Net. Imagine that a search engine algorithm change knocks your top performing keyword out of the organic results. What would’ve been a major blow to your business, can be quickly remedied with a few changes to your PPC campaigns. Likewise, if certain keywords are getting too expensive to bid on, you can adjust your SEO focus to compensate.
- Control. You can control PPC and SEO search results for certain terms. When you’re in business, it is inevitable that you will receive negative comments or publicity. A good example of this is when BP was dealing with an oil spill. BP paid for PPC ads to link the search term “oil spill” to the clean-up effort on its website so that people could see BP was actively involved in correcting its mistake.
- Complement. As you’ve already seen, SEO and PPC work at different speeds. You can capture important keywords with PPC while waiting for your SEO to catch up. Also, sometimes it’s just not possible to capture a keyword with SEO, and that’s no problem for PPC. Let the strengths of each strategy shine, as they can each compensate the others weakness.
The Choice is Yours: SEO, PPC, or Both
So what is the best choice for you? Is it SEO? PPC?
If you’re ready to get the most out of your SEO or PPC, get in touch with me! At devEdge Internet Marketing we manage your company into real world-class results. Clients big and small have seen business growth because of our expertly crafted digital marketing campaigns. See for yourself by reading up on our case studies.
Then contact devEdge Internet Marketing today!