Are you unsure if SEO or PPC will benefit your small business more?
Do you have a limited budget and NEED to make the best decision?
This comprehensive guide will break down each method and help you decide which is the best for you.
At the end, you’ll be equipped with all the information that will enable you to make a well-informed decision on which will benefit your business most!
What Is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) by including certain keywords and phrases in your content.
How it works:
- You create content on your website that includes the keywords and phrases you want to rank for.
- When someone searches for those terms, your website appears in the search results.
The goal of SEO is to get your website to appear as high up in the search results as possible.
This will help you earn organic traffic from Google and other major search engines. (Organic traffic is the traffic that comes to your website from unpaid, or “free” search results)
SEO helps you by improving your website’s visibility in the search results so potential customers can find you more easily.
So that’s the overview on SEO! But is it the right strategy for your small business?
Just like any marketing strategy, there are upsides and downsides to SEO, and we will explore both of those in this article, but let’s begin with the positives!
Pros of SEO
Let’s take a look at a few of the many reasons SEO might be the best option for you to implement in your small business marketing strategy.
The first and most obvious pro is that organic traffic is completely free. You are not paying for every click like you would with PPC advertising.
This makes SEO the perfect option for you and your business if you’re still in the early stages, and have a limited budget to spend on advertisement.
Better Conversion Rates
Another pro of SEO is that it generally results in a better conversion rate than PPC.
This is because people who find your website organically are more likely to trust your brand’s credibility and be interested in what you have to offer.
People trust their search engines to show them the best and most reliable businesses, so having your website at the top of google means that buyers are much more likely to see you as a credible source. Which means more, views, clicks, and (most importantly) sales for you.
Stability With SEO
Because SEO is not paid search marketing, your results are not dependent on your ability to to pay.
With SEO, you can maintain a consistent flow of traffic and leads without having to continuously pay for it. Meaning you wont have to worry about losing out on traffic if you need to tighten your budget.
Along with financial stability, SEO offers longevity of advertisement as well. Paid traffic will stop as soon as you stop paying for ad space, but with SEO, your website will continue to earn organic traffic as long as you maintain your ranking.
Organic Listings Build Brand Authority
These days, people are less and less likely to respond positively when they know they are being advertised to.
This is why having your website rank organically is so important for building brand authority.
When people see your business at the top of their search engine, they are more likely to trust that you’re a credible source because they know you haven’t just paid to be there.
Additionally, SEO can also help build brand awareness for your business. When people see your website at the top of the SERPs, they will start to become familiar with your brand name.
Familiarity breeds comfort, and people are more likely to do business with brands they are familiar with because they perceive them to be more trustworthy.
You Can Target the Whole Funnel
Most importantly, SEO can help you target the buyer’s entire journey.
You can use SEO to attract people in the awareness stage with blog content and then use targeted keywords to lead them further into your site, down the funnel towards a sale.
This is the biggest advantage that SEO has over PPC, as PPC can only target people who are already familiar with your brand and are at the bottom of the funnel, ready to buy.
Cons of SEO
Right now, SEO is sounding pretty great. And it is! But there are some disadvantages to take into consideration before deciding on which of these strategies is right for you.
Here are some of the cons of utilizing SEO.
It Takes Time!
If you are looking for a quick fix or immediate results, SEO is not the answer. SEO is a long-term strategy that takes months or even years to see results.
You need to be patient when implementing an SEO strategy and see it as an investment in your business rather than a way to make quick money.
Search Algorithms Change
We all know how quickly technology changes in this day and age. Especially on the internet. What works today might not work tomorrow, and what works tomorrow might not even exist in a few years.
The same goes for SEO. Search algorithms are constantly changing. To maintain your ranking, you need to continuously monitor your website’s SEO and update your strategy as needed. This means keeping up with Google’s algorithm changes.
This can take a lot of time and effort, and if you’re not willing to put in the work, SEO might not be right for you.
Skills Are Needed
SEO is not a hands off technique. To properly execute an SEO strategy, you’ll need to have quite a few tools in your belt.
In order to stay on top of your SEO, you’ll need to be able to:
- Do keyword research: You need to know which keywords your target audience is searching for and how difficult it would be to rank for those keywords.
- Optimize website content: Once you know which keywords you want to target, you need to create content that is optimized for those keywords. This means including the keyword in certain places on your website and making sure your website’s design is effective.
- Build links: Links are a huge part of how search engines rank websites. You need to be constantly working on building links to your website from other high-quality websites.
- Track your website’s analytics: Without tracking your website’s analytics, you won’t be able to see how well your SEO efforts are paying off. You need to track things like your website’s traffic and conversion rate.
- Continuously create new content: Constantly generating content to stay ahead of the curve can be exhausting, but it’s something you need to do if you want your website to rank.
It may sound daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone! Website development companies like WP Masters help take care of SEO so you can focus on running your business.
What is PPC (Adwords)
PPC (or Pay Per Click Advertising) is a type of online advertising where you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad. The price you pay per click is determined by how much you bid for your chosen keyword(s).
How it works:
- When someone searches for a keyword that you’re bidding on, your ad will appear in the sponsored results section at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
- You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, hence the name “pay per click.”
The goal of PPC is to get your ad in front of as many people as possible and then drive traffic to your website.
PPC can be a great way to generate leads, increase brand awareness, and get sales. However, it is important to keep in mind that PPC is a paid advertising method and therefore requires a budget.
Pros of PPC
You may be wondering why you should even consider a paid approach when free options exist, but PPC has a lot to offer!
Here’s a look at a few of the pros of PPC:
PPC is (Slightly) Quicker
If you are looking for immediate results, PPC might be a better option for you than SEO.
You can see results from your PPC campaign much sooner than an SEO strategy. In fact, some businesses see results within a week! Of course, this depends on how big your budget is and how competitive your chosen keywords are.
PPC Ads Are at the Top!
When you do a Google search, have you ever noticed the ads that show up at the top of the page? These are PPC ads.
Because they are at the top of the page, they are more likely to be seen by searchers than organic results. This means that your ad has a better chance of being clicked.
You Can Be Hyper-Targeted
PPC allows you to be very specific with who sees your ad. You can target people based on things like their location, demographics, and even their interests.
This ensures that your ad is being seen by people who are most likely to be interested in what you’re selling.
You Can Test Faster
PPC is a great way to test different aspects of your marketing campaign quickly and easily.
For example, if you want to test different headlines for your ad, you can create two ads with different headlines and see which one performs better. Then, you can use the better-performing headline for all of your ads.
Cons of PPC
Of course, no method is without its drawbacks. Here are a few of the negative aspects of using PPC rather and SEO.
It Gets More Expensive Every Year
The average cost-per-click has increased by over 30% in the last year alone! And it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
This means that if you want to keep your PPC campaign going, you’ll need to increase your budget each year just to maintain the same results.
PPC Ads Need Constant Management
If you stop paying for your PPC ads, they will stop running. This means that you need to be prepared to commit time and resources to managing your PPC campaign on an ongoing basis.
PPC Ads Have Lower Margins
Because you are paying for each click, PPC ads have lower profit margins than other marketing strategies.
This means that you need to make sure you are targeting the right keywords and generating a high enough conversion rate to offset the cost of your campaign.
Which is Better? SEO or PPC?
You’ve heard what both SEO and PPC have to offer your business as marketing strategies, as well as what the potential drawbacks are.
So which is ultimately the best option? The answer is that it depends.
Both are good
Both SEO and PPC can help you achieve your marketing goals, but the approach you take should be based on your specific needs and goals.
Let’s take one more quick look at each option to help you decide which is best for your business:
Use SEO If
- You want to focus on branding: Because SEO helps you improve your organic search visibility, it can be a great way to build brand awareness.
- You want long-term results: The effects of an SEO campaign can last for years. Once you achieve a good ranking, you will continue to get traffic and leads without having to continually pay for ads.
- You have a long-term marketing strategy: SEO should be a part of your long-term marketing strategy. It takes time to achieve results, but the payoff can be worth it in the end.
- You want to increase organic traffic: If your goal is to increase the amount of traffic you get from organic search, then SEO is a good option for you.
- You have a limited budget: Lastly, because SEO is not a paid market strategy, it’s much more friendly on a limited budget.
Use PPC If
- You want faster results: Remember that with PPC, you can see results from your campaign almost immediately.
- You want to test different aspects of your marketing strategy quickly: PPC is a great way to test different headlines, call-to-actions, and more.
- You want to build highly targeted ad campaigns and be very specific with who sees your ad: PPC allows you to target people based on their location, interests, and demographics.
- You want to generate the highest number of leads as possible: Because PPC ads are at the top of the page, they are more likely to be clicked than organic results.
Now that we’ve gone over which of these methods might be best for you, there is another option we haven’t yet discussed…
Who said it had to be one way or the other? There could be room for both SEO and PPC advertising in your business marketing strategy.
Use Both SEO and PPC If:
- You have the budget: If you have the budget to invest in both SEO and PPC, then you can get the best of both worlds.
- You want immediate results: By using both methods, you can see results from your SEO campaign while also generating leads with your PPC ads.
- You want to target different stages of the buyer’s journey: SEO can help you target people who are in the research phase, while PPC can help you target those who are ready to buy.
- You want to reach a wide audience: By using both methods, you can reach more people than you would if you just used one method.
So there you have it! A comprehensive guide to SEO vs PPC. Hopefully this has helped you decide which method is right for your business.
Ultimately, the best way to decide which approach is right for you is to experiment with both and see what works best for your business. Try running a PPC campaign for a month or two and track your results. Then, do the same with an SEO strategy. At the end of the experiment, you’ll have a better idea of which marketing strategy is right for your business.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll find that your business benefits the most from implementing both SEO and PPC into your business’s final marketing strategy.
Now let’s hear from you!
SEO or PPC?
Comment down below and tell us which of these systems you’re going to try. Alternatively, if you’ve got plenty of experience with both, let us know how you make the most of your online marketing strategy!