When it comes to content marketing, half of small businesses are unsure of SEO because they want to see immediate results. Organic search leads are the most valuable, but they’re also difficult to gain especially if you don’t have the education or experience to build a content strategy of your own. That’s where PPC comes into play, though.
A solid PPC marketing strategy can give you the faster results you’re looking for, but does that mean you should overlook SEO? As a beginner, which is best for you to start with? Read on to learn everything you need to know.
What Is SEO Marketing?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s the process of creating content in order to enhance your website’s visibility on search engine pages and grow your organic traffic. There are a lot of components that go into planning and building a solid SEO strategy, and it can take some time to see results.
When you invest in SEO, though, you’re increasing the likelihood of your target audience discovering you and your website. There are over 9 billion daily Google searches. So, if you’re ranking for the right keywords, then your content has a very high chance of getting seen.
There are other search engines you can base your SEO strategy around, but you’re likely to notice that the majority are based on Google’s algorithm.
Pros of SEO
SEO itself is easy enough to learn on your own, but that’s not the only good thing that comes with it. Here are a few of the best things about this marketing tactic.
In the long run, SEO is far cheaper than PPC. Whether you pay an agency or freelancer to get the job done, or you invest tools to help you build, you’re still likely to spend less than you might’ve on a PPC campaign in the long run.
When you focus on SEO, you’re creating content that ranks on its own and drives traffic to your site organically. Not only are organic leads very cost-effective and scalable, but they’re also far cheaper than the price you’ll pay per click for PPC ads.
Target Different Parts of the Process
With sales funnels, there are going to be several moving parts. With SEO, you can easily target them all with different types of content.
Whether you’re drawing people in for the first time, convincing them to finally pull out their wallets, or simply keeping their interest after that initial lead, content is a great way to engage customers with your brand. With anything from blog posts to case studies, you’ll be able to meet your audience wherever they are in their journey with your brand.
That means you’ll have a better shot at pushing your visitors along to that next step in the funnel with each visit they make to your site.
Traffic Is More Stable
Another great advantage to keep in mind is that you’re not going to lose out on opportunities once you’ve built your SEO ranking. With PPC marketing, your ranking dries up with your marketing budget. With SEO, however, you earned that ranking on your own and you’re not likely to lose all of it overnight.
Gain More Organic Listings
With organic ranking comes domain and brand authority. That authority is what helps you build a positive reputation in the industry, and it’s how you gain your footing.
It means that Google thinks you’re an expert, and that’s a title that people trust immensely. That means more backlinks from trusted sites, and it also means that people are more likely to remember your name (especially if they’re seeing it everywhere).
Cons of SEO
No tactic is perfect, though. Here are a few of the biggest cons that come with using SEO.
Requires Certain Skills and Expertise
If you choose to not hire an expert, you’re going to have some research to do.
At a minimum, it’s essential to know your audience’s unique needs and have content that meets them. That alone can help you optimize your content, but you’ll also need to know about things like link-building, keyword rankings, and how to write that content.
Running a business and taking the time to learn all these things is no easy feat, but some people can manage. It’s a lot easier when you have a strategy to stick to, but you’ll also need to create one that’s capable of generating the revenue you’re after.
Algorithms Aren’t Always Consistent
Let’s face it, things can change on a dime. Google is especially apt to change its algorithm, meaning it’s important to keep up with things as they come. It’s essential to keep a close eye on your marketing strategy and its results so you can adapt as needed.
If you don’t have the time or experience for this, though, things can get complicated quickly. If you need help, hiring someone to help you along the way might be the best answer for you.
Results Aren’t Immediate
Unlike PPC, SEO is going to take some time to show its results. This is especially true if your domain or website is new, as you haven’t had the chance to develop effective domain authority.
There are several factors that play into Google’s search results, and it can take time to develop the necessary qualities to show up in a highly-ranked spot. The truth is, your website is going to face a hard time developing those within a few weeks or months.
What Is PPC Marketing?
PPC stands for pay-per-click and it’s a form of search engine marketing (SEM). The advertiser pays the publisher for each click they receive on an ad. In return, they’re given prime real estate on the publisher’s website (like the first spot on the search engine page).
This means that you’ll pay for advertisements if people interact with your ads. If you use PPC, you’re a lot more likely to attract people that are ready and willing to do business with you. What you end up paying, however, depends on your industry and the keywords you’re wanting to rank for.
PPC is great if you’re in a crowded industry. You’ll get in front of customers quickly, meaning you don’t have to have high domain authority to begin converting leads
Pros of PPC
You know the best things about working with SEO, but could PPC win you over? Here are a few of the best things to know about working with it.
The biggest pro of using PPC advertising is the fact that you don’t have to build as you do with SEO. All you have to do is set up your campaign and you can see results in as little as a few hours.
Appear Above Organic Rankings
You’re also going to have access to that coveted first Google spot. This means your website will appear above those organic results, and your audience is going to notice you first before other competitors.
Testing Is Easier
PPC is a great way to A/B testing easier. You have the power to run two different ads at the same time to measure which is better.
Once you’ve run your test, you can simply kill the one that doesn’t work, or continue optimizing for the best results.
Find Your Target Audience
No matter which advertising method you choose, you’ll need to know your target audience. Setting up a PPC campaign can help you do exactly this, though.
Whether your target demographic is a certain age or is from a specific area, PPC can help you find exactly who you’re looking for.
Cons of PPC
Besides having to pay for each and every click you get, there are a few other cons to take note of. Here are a few of the biggest cons that come with adopting PPC.
If you don’t have the money upfront, PPC advertising isn’t going to work. Since you’re paying for each and every click, you run the risk of drying your traffic up along with your budget once it runs out.
This is especially true if you work in a saturated industry. Some words are going to cost over $100 per click, so it’s important that you budget accordingly.
It’s also more likely to result in lower profit margins for your business. PPC is a great short-term strategy, but it’s important to remember that you’re still paying to get yourself into the game.
As time goes on, you could be paying a lot to keep your customers without raising your prices to match.
When you rank organically, you can be confident that you’re gaining those leads on your own. You’re more likely to gain a loyal customer base, making your services sought after, meaning you’ll be in a better position to raise prices to meet demand as time goes on.
Ad platforms have rules for the things listed on their site. Due to this, some PPC advertisements can begin to blur together for users, meaning it’s a lot easier for them to simply skip over the “sponsored” results at the top of the page for the organic leads below them.
Which Is Best?
The reality is, these two marketing tactics are best used together.
When you’re first starting out, you’ll need time to build solid domain and website authority. As you work to build that, you can turn to PPC to get your name out into the world. You can also work to integrate any keyword or conversion data from your PPC campaign into your SEO campaign.
No matter how you view it, one isn’t inherently better than the other. They both serve unique purposes and they have their place in any marketing strategy.
When Is SEO Better?
There are a few scenarios where SEO might be your best option:
- Low marketing budget
- Build your brand authority
- Create diverse kinds of content
- Maximize long-term return on investment
If you’re just starting out, but are OK with investing time and research into a marketing strategy that can bring solid and long-lasting results, then SEO is a great option for you. Not only can it help carry you to new heights, but the results have the power to help scale your business even when you’re not focusing as much on this marketing technique.
When Is PPC Better?
The results that SEO has the power to bring are grand, but that doesn’t mean PPC should be ignored altogether. In fact, there are a few places where adopting PPC can be more beneficial:
- You’re searching for quick results
- You’d like to direct your audience to a specific page
- You’re in an unsaturated market
- Time-sensitive campaigns
You know that PPC can help you get fast results, but what if you’re in an unsaturated market? If you have a new product or something that’s one-of-a-kind, then PPC can be an easy and cost-effective way to jump to the top of Google.
This jumpstart is going to help your domain gain the authority it needs to rank highly on search engine pages. If you create unique content and take the right steps, you might even find that your organic traffic increases without much effort.
Make Use of These Methods
When used together, SEO and PPC have the power to create a marketing campaign that’s hard to beat. How can you make these two tactics work to your advantage, though?
Optimize Your Title and Meta Description
If you’re unsure of what a good meta description looks like, it can be great to visit the page you’re trying to rank on. What is everyone else writing? There are probably a few basic principles you’ll see from the best ones:
- Less than 160 characters
- Active voice
- Clear call-to-action
- Use your primary keyword
- Be specific
- Make sure it matches the content
- Keep it simple but unique
The principles for your title are similar to your meta, but this should be kept to less than 70 characters.
Target the Right Keywords
With PPC, you can test out certain keywords and then measure how they do in the short term. If you find that you’re doing well for certain keywords, you can then attempt to rank organically for it through your SEO campaign.
Over the long term, you’re going to end up saving on your overall cost-per-acquisition.
Maximize Your Keyword Success
Those SEO insights can be used to build out your search engine marketing campaigns, especially if you’re a first-time user. You can use certain tools to analyze your SEO keyword conversion data in order to avoid any poorly converting keywords.
You can also use SEO to target keywords capable of getting you volume but not profit in paid searches. On the other end, you can use PPC for the words that are profitable but rank poorly for organic results.
It might not seem like it, but both channels matter and both are capable of getting you the results you desire.
Preserve PPC Rankings With SEO
While these two tactics are different, they have the same goal. In either situation, you’re looking to be found on Google for specific search terms. They complement each other well since they improve your visibility, but PPC is lost once ads are turned off. That’s where SEO saves the day, though.
Working on SEO in tandem with PPC is going to help save your search engine rankings. This is especially true if you’re working to rank for certain words while your PPC is on. Once it’s off, you’ll have the organic results, so you can turn to start attempting to rank for other words from there.
A great advantage of these tactics is that they can be used across multiple channels.
While they require two distinct teams and skill sets, they still need to be driven by the same strategy. So, you’re still saving time by creating only one strategy to use across platforms and channels. There are a few things you’ll need to remember for your strategy, though:
- A clear objective (measure by month, quarter, year, etc)
- Solid strategy to carry out that goal
- Frequent reviews of the results
As you review your results, it’s important to start at the top in order to realign your goals. The more often you do this, the more concise you’re going to find your overall strategy to be, and the easier it’s going to be to adjust tactically across all your channels.
Use PPC to Write Your Narrative
Using PPC tactically gives you a clear advantage over SEO. Proper SEO comes with a required structure that’s used to provide relevant and accurate information about both your brand and industry. It’s a long-term strategy that’s great for both organizing and categorizing relevant information on your website.
PPC, on the other hand, doesn’t require this organization. It’s a great way to control the narrative your SEO writes about your brand. Instead of focusing on long-winded, unfocused results, it zooms in on those results in a way that makes it easier to take a headline-based approach to your content.
Use the Data From One to Enhance the Other
Both SEO and PPC work to measure the quality of a website, its content, and its overall UX and UI. That data is collected through PPC campaigns and then used to enhance both content relevance and optimization. The data that’s collected through SEO campaigns are used to enhance the quality of things like ads, meaning a lot less spent on overall ad usage.
That same principle can be applied to any results drawn from keyword research sessions and visibility audits. That data can be used in both bidding in PPC campaigns and your paid search data to come up with necessary topics to target and write content about.
SEO Trends Dictate PPC Keywords
Both these tactics require keyword research to identify and reveal profitable keywords. It’s essential to use the SEO trends you come across to identify keywords for your advertisers to target. On the other end, you’ll also want to note the unhelpful ones that can be excluded altogether from your campaign.
How Can Professionals Help?
While you can take advantage of both tactics on your own, working with the right team is going to help you take full advantage of both strategies. This is especially true if you’re building your rankings from the ground up.
If you already have content that ranks, then the team you work with can help you optimize that content and identify other keywords to work with. If you don’t have any domain authority or a high ranking, though, then your team can help you get there a lot more quickly.
They’ll have industry experience, and they’ll be able to identify the tactics that have worked in the past and the ones that should be avoided. They’ll also have the insight to let you know which keywords will be the most difficult to rank for versus the easiest. It might seem like taking a DIY approach can help you save both time and money, but with the time you save on ranking, you’ll be making enough to make that initial investment worth it in no time.
Which One Is Best for You?
When it comes to either SEO or PPC marketing, you’re going to find advantages and disadvantages no matter which side you choose. It’s important to consider your company’s unique needs when making your final decision, rather than what you think your competition is doing. While what your industry is doing as a whole matters, prioritizing your company’s individual needs is going to help you get a lot farther in the end.
Luckily, we’re here to help whenever you need it. Book a consultation call with us today to get started.