People always ask me: “What is better? SEO or PPC?” Its a very good question and something that keeps me up at night. This blog post will explain the terms and give you an insight into the advantages and disadvantages of both.
What is SEO and PPC?
SEO refers to ‘search engine optimisation‘ – the use of various techniques to make you website rank high on Google’s organic searches. When you type something into Google you notice that some of the search results have a white background and some a coloured yellowy/orange background. The search results with the white backgrounds are ‘organic searches’ as selected by Google. These positions are based on which sites Google thinks provide the most relevant results and you need to be using search engine optimisation to rank higher – adding things like content, videos, images and getting quality links to your site to make you seem more relevant to Google.
PPC refers to ‘pay-per-click‘ advertising and having your website listed on Google’s paid adverts which have the yellowy/orange background. This works as an online auction where you bid for the highest position. You set your budget for how much you are willing to spend on a click and Google will position you accordingly. All you need to do is choose the keywords you want to advertise for and you are on your way!
Several sites who have used spammy techniques in the past have fallen victim to Google’s algorithm updates and so instead of trying to restore their previous good position using clean techniques, they prefer to simply pay for Google adverts to make their website visible.
But since both give you visibility on Google, the questions begs: Which is better to use? Which is most cost-effective? Which will drive more sales? We discuss below:
What are the advantages of SEO?
The main advantage of a well-implemented SEO strategy is that you will enjoy high click-through rates (CTR’s). Studies have shown that the clear majority of users click organic search rather than paid searches ( Search Engine Watch , Econsultancy) There is something about the human brain – it doesn’t like clicking on adverts. It doesn’t like being a sell-out. There is the argument that organic search results are more trusted and therefore attract a more trustworthy and serious kind of customer.
In addition, having a top position on Google’s organic searches gives you a lower cost-per-click overall and greater visibility. Since Google’s paid adverts are like an auction and are constantly changing, if you search for something and refresh the page, the adverts will change too. By comparison, an organic search will always stay in the same position (at least for that day). So with organic search, you are always visible to customers and seeing that some industries have low conversion rates, you don’t want to miss out on the one good customer that comes around in a blue moon. As a result of SEO searches being clicked on more and always being visible, you find that your cost-per-click may be one-tenth cheaper overall of what PPC may cost you.
What are the disadvantages of SEO?
SEO is a long-term strategy – it could take between 6 and 8 months for your new site to start ranking well for your selected keywords. If you are willing to put the time in to follow good SEO practices (content and link-building), you will certainly see the rewards. If you are not following clean SEO practices, your site may be penalised by Google’s occasional updates, created to clean out poor SEO practices (such as spammy links and duplicate content). As a result of a penalty, your site’s ranking can fall dramatically over night and it could take weeks or months to recover.
What are the advantages of PPC?
You can get up and running on the same day. If you have just launched your website or you want to generate some traffic quickly, you can sign up to an Adwords account and start targeting keywords immediately. If you want to reach specific people today, this is how you do it. There is also the flexibility to turn the campaigns on and off as you please – giving you the options.
A key advantage of using PPC is to effectively carry out testing. If you want to test new applications on your website and want real customers, you can set up a PPC campaign and base your strategy on the results. The Adwords product is very impressive, allowing businesses to target customers with adverts based on their age, location, time of day and type of device. You can really go to town testing things to find the right combination for your business.
Constantly testing your ad copy and putting relevant content on the landing page will make your cost-per-click lower and your position higher as Google want to reward you.
What are the disadvantages of PPC?
PPC is expensive. For the most competitive industries such as loans and credit cards, top positions on the first page can cost up to £12 per click and a conversion is not guaranteed. The internet is a volume game and to be displaying a lot of adverts requires investment.
There’s also the downside of PPC that your adverts won’t always display because the live auction means that someone can displace you during the next search. You need to be on top of the game, constantly testing your ad copy and driving your conversion rate or you will end up paying more per click and find yourself lower down the ladder.
We believe there is value using both SEO and PPC.
Certainly at the beginning of a website’s creation or when an SEO strategy is underway and not taken shape yet, using PPC is a quick way to get your brand out there and getting traffic to the site. Overall, SEO does bring about cheaper clicks and more trusted results so this is the long-term thing to be focusing on.
However, there are several arguments that ranking high on organic searches and targeting the same keyword for PPC is good for your brand awareness, after all, you are now being shown twice on the page rather than once (Brick Marketing).
At Tudor Lodge Consultants, we believe that PPC can help you rank better on Google. If visitors are clicking onto your site, spending time on it because it is relevant and are then returning to the site because they liked it, Google will only reward you for this and I would expect a jump in your organic searches.
- Use PPC to get going and test your site
- Long term, go for SEO.
- Give us a call to discuss your SEO strategy on 07792331915