I know it’s complicated: you are a business owner and want to use the power of the internet to boost your services, your products or your website in general. You want as many people as possible to know about you. Suddenly, you find out about the mighty SEO and PPC. And now you have to make a choice. Do you need it at all? Which one is better for your specific case? Or why even choose one if you can use both?
Before you take any actions, allow me to explain the meaning behind these terms, the differences between them, and how to carefully use them to reach your goals.
What’s the difference between PPC and SEO?
First of all, let’s see what each of the terms means.
Visually, the difference is obvious: PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, results are marked as “Ad”, whereas websites optimized for the search engines look natural and their position doesn’t have to do anything with advertising. Also, PPC traffic has a cost for each time someone clicks on the ad.
PPC results show up in SERP, or Search Engine Results Page, if your query matches the business’ keywords. For example, if we search for “women’s shoes” and it is the keyword business chose to bid for, we will see ads for “buy women’s shoes”, “women’s shoes for sale” and so on.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and according to Search Engine Land, “it is the process of getting traffic from the ‘free’, ‘organic’, ‘editorial’ or ‘natural’ search results on search engines.” Traffic coming from organic search is free.
In order to dominate organic positions in SERP, you also start with choosing the right keywords you would like to rank for, but results can take up to 3 months to show up. In the beginning, SEO requires investments; however, the effect will be long-term. When it comes to PPC though, you will stop getting traffic the moment you end your campaign.
What is more beneficial?
When set up correctly, PPC campaigns give you the immediate growth of audience interested in your products/services. But you have to be ready for constant money spend, as the competition grows too. This could be a good choice for new sites that are just starting their digital marketing life.
If you choose the Search Engine Optimization path, be patient and don’t be afraid to invest more in your website development. User flow doesn’t disappear after you stop your SEO work, so these investments will be worth it. It is a great choice for businesses that want to build brand awareness, educate a prospect about a certain topic to help them in their buyer journey, or to explain why they should use your services.
Is it easy to manipulate?
You can’t instantly see how effective your SEO work is, so it is difficult to say which specific actions lead to particular changes in traffic. However, it is sustainable and the more quality changes you make, the more visibility your site gains over time. Also, if you establish yourself in SERP, your competitors can’t just go and buy their position to outrank you.
With Paid Search, you can make changes anytime. A PPC Specialist can easily determine the CPC (Cost-Per-Click), decide which campaign or keyword to push, and target the ads depending on the time of day or week, location, device, etc.
What do users trust more?
Some people don’t click on your ad simply because it’s an ad. They might consider it spammy and simply scroll down to the rest of the results.
There are exceptions to this rule, but we can’t deny that some think organic results are more trustworthy. They might not know about SEO and believe the websites in TOP 10 are leaders in the market and have services or products of the highest quality.
Which tactic should I choose?
Before searching for a PPC or SEO Specialist to boost your campaign, ask yourself a couple of questions.
Do I need an immediate result or do I want to build a trustworthy longstanding campaign?
Although SEO is a long-term road that won’t give you an immediate result, it is a development of a whole project. It is an investment in the future of your business and the results of the optimization will work for you for a long time.
However, if you have a new product or service to promote or need to get visibility quickly, PPC might be the best option for you.
What is my budget?
If your budget is somewhat limited, I suggest focusing on SEO. As mentioned above, you don’t have to pay if a user clicks on your site and it’s a permanent source of traffic.
On the other hand – time is money. Businesses don’t like waiting. Any new commercial-oriented site is expected to bring profit from the day 1. If you’re willing to pay more from the start and attract your clientele right away, consider focusing on PPC.
Time to make a decision
To be honest, it pays off to use these tactics together to eliminate weaknesses each of them might have, as well as join their strengths. You’ll get the best results if you take advantage of both. But at the same time, don’t forget that SEO and PPC require individual approach and expertise. In that case, the outcome will be better than you expect.