As a business there are plenty of ways to generate traffic to your site. However, there are two very popular methods of marketing that many businesses choose to use. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC).
SEO and PPC are the most popular methods to drive traffic to your site, with many digital marketing agencies utilising these strategies to grow their clients businesses. However, sources such as a 'SEO Ninja' may tell you that SEO is huge for your industry whereas a PPC expert may tell you how much better PPC is for you. With these different methods to choose from, online business owners often struggle to decide what is best for them.
If you've owned a website for a while then you have likely experimented with SEO if not PPC as well.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is all about getting the relevant organic search traffic to your site through a search engine such as Google. Each industry is different and one could be more competitive than another. SEO is often a long process and could take a long time to see results. Some businesses spend thousands a month trying to improve their rankings and sometimes it doesn't pay off.
The good thing with SEO is that once you're up in the highest positions, you often tend to stay there unless your competitors are actively working at their SEO to try to kick you off the top spot. So if you're ranking for a keyword that is searched over 10,000 times a month and placed in the top 3, your ranking for organic searches will be high.
SEO can often be very cost effective when it works, especially if you're not outsourcing it and doing it yourself, the only thing it is costing you is your time. However, if you leave it to the professionals the cost can get high very quickly, costing anything from a few hundreds to thousands per month.
PPC (Pay-per-click) can get you instant results and visitors if you've chosen the right keywords. In a matter of moments you can set up a PPC campaign and watch visitors enter your site. PPC requires a lot of planning prior to enabling your campaigns, sometimes it means getting help from PPC Professionals.
PPC gives you the option to have more control, not only do you have the ability to target visitors to come to your website, you can choose the location, gender, age and background of each visitor. However, there can be more costs associated with PPC if you don't get the keyword bidding right.
Each keyword will cost a different amount, which often depends on the amount of competition for those keywords. However, with bidding strategies such as manual CPC, PPC does come with more control. This means you have the ability to cap your spend per keyword. If you bid too little you might not see results, this is because your ads are likely not showing at the top of the search results. Bid too high and you could find your budget being exhausted very quickly, especially if you do not have a click fraud solution in place.
SEO is great if you're looking for something more long-term and this will have the biggest impact on your organic search results. SEO is often best used on your main website or product/service pages to bring in organic visitors.
PPC is a great method to bring in visitors almost immediately. Although, this does require a well built campaign with a good understanding of keyword bidding and other metrics such as search impression share.
The Verdict- PPC or SEO?
There isn't actually a clear winner. Both have there pros and cons and deciding which method to use should be based on your business goals.
Ideally, you should be utilising both digital marketing methods. SEO as previously mentioned is a long term strategy and can take months to see results, whereas PPC is almost instant but could cost you more money. The best way to use it is by making sure that you're targeting both the same landing pages to get the best of both. If you are just starting out, you could consider using SEO for the long term and PPC for the short term or at least until your SEO is where you want it to be.
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