Every business at the time of launching its marketing campaign wants a solid ROI. You would want to be sure the time and money you are putting in the campaign brings a high volume of quality traffic that actually converts.
Businesses usually have two choices: SEO or PPC. There’s one main difference between the two. The traffic coming from SEO is organic and free and the traffic coming from PPC is not free. Which one is right for your business? This is a question lots of small businesses ask.
Let’s dig into both to find out what’s best for your business.
What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing the pages of your website to rank in the search engines.
Each search engine has an algorithm it uses for calculating the quality and relevance of a page. After that, it determines the rank of the website. It also involves figuring out what the search engine deems important and then optimizing your site accordingly. Now let’s check out the pros and cons:
It brings organic traffic
SEO brings consistent traffic to your website. I hired SEO consultants boosting the ranking of my marketing staffing agency a year ago. Once my keywords started to rank on Google, the flow of traffic kept coming. Paid marketing, on the other hand, is like a faucet. Traffic flows as long as the faucet is on. Once the faucet is turned off, the traffic dries up. The traffic brought by SEO is scalable and long-term.
It’s cheaper in the long-run
You might have to buy links for the sake of link building but that’s about it. Unlike paid marketing, you don’t have to spend millions to maintain incoming traffic. Of course, you have to pay salaries to the company offering SEO services, at least they are not in millions. In other words, SEO not just lasts longer, it’s affordable in the long run.
The results take time
Ranking keywords related to your product or service can take time. A study says that 5.7% of the pages that are ranked in the top 10 pages of Google for at least one keyword received results after one year of publishing. The progress is slow indeed. If you have a short window, SEO may not be the right strategy to drive sales.
What is PPC?
PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising is the process whereby you pay to receive clicks on your website. Typically, Google Ads is used for search engine advertising. Nowadays, businesses are leveraging Facebook, Twitter, Quora, and Pinterest for PPC as well.
Let’s move on to the pros and cons:
The results generated by PPC are quicker. You don’t have to wait for weeks or months. Once the campaign is active, you will start getting clicks right away.
It supports granular targeting
PPC lets you play with different types of data; be it geographical or demographic. This helps narrow down the audience and pay only for those visitors whom you want on your website.
If you are in a competitive industry, paying per click can get prohibitively expensive. For instance, if your keyword is “Car insurance” it will cost you $40 per click. Now that’s expensive. Some businesses lose money by running Google Ads. DropBox was one of them. They experimented with Google Ads and found the CPA they were getting was between $233 and $388. Their product, on the other hand, was priced $99.
It loses effectiveness over time
PPC is easy to scale and quicker in bringing results. Some experts say the longer you run a campaign, the less effective it becomes. People are exposed to your ad too often. Your message becomes stale over time.
To prevent this, you will have to create a new copy, add fresh images, and revise your ad every now and then to improve its effectiveness.
SEO vs PPC: Which Is Better For My Business?
If you ask this question from an expert, they will say “it depends.” No doubt both are legitimate sources of getting traffic. However, there will be situations where one channel may be a better source than the other. Here are a few examples:
Your product is new
Let’s say you are a disruptive company and your product is new or innovative. No one’s looking for it but you want to spread them out there. In this situation, you are better off using PPC for building awareness of your new product.
One-time offer or launch
Whether it’s a new launch, discount, or you are promoting a one-time offer, the right strategy here would be PPC. It does not make sense to use SEO because it takes time to generate results. Along with PPC, you can also use influencer marketing.
You don’t need instant results
Here, SEO is the right solution since it’s all about long-term vision. With SEO, the results in the first months are little to zero. Things start heating up around the 6th month. That is going to be your tipping point.
If you are in a position to wait for up to 6 months, SEO is the best bet.
You are creating a site with the intention to sell
Some people create websites and then sell them. It’s a type of business. In that case, use SEO to improve the ranking of your site gradually. Buyers love sites with sustainable traffic and growth. They don’t have to get involved in the hassle of monitoring campaigns.
Once the website is ranked for certain keywords, it usually stays put. Things are different with PPC. The incoming traffic depends on the life of the campaign. Once the campaign is gone, so is the traffic.
You don’t need instant results.
Here, SEO is the right solution since it’s all about long-term vision. With SEO, things start heating up around the 6th month. For instance, people post anonymous stories on digital platforms as their way of putting up with civil discourse. It usually takes time for people to understand and come around.
We hope it’s clear when to use SEO and when to use PPC. Long story short, if you want sustainable traffic and growth, go for SEO. If you want instant results for a campaign, choose PPC. For instance, your company’s goal is to bring high-volume recruitment for a certain job opening, running a Google ad about the opening will bring tons of resumes in your inbox within a day.
Some businesses also create a hybrid of SEO and PPC. Determine what’s best for your website and go from there.