Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vs. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
SEO: If you are a small to mid-size business owner then chances are that you (as an entrepreneur) wear many hats including “Marketing Department.” Let me start by saying how much I admire the sheer guts that it takes to start and run a successful business. You are the heart and soul of the American spirit.
With that being said, a lot has changed over the years on how to best market your business, especially with all of this SEO, SEM, PPC, SMO, SMM, ORM, SERP Rankings, Mobile, Email, ABC, 123…(okay, you get my point) going on. All of these play a role in your marketing mix but SEO and PPC are arguably the most prominent related to how customers find you on the internet (although some are just a fancy way of saying some of the same things).
The internet is a great resource to find customers and better yet, for them to find you. At the time of authoring this post, I asked Google how many businesses were listed on Google (haha) – there were 285 million results in just over a half second. So the question is, will your customers actually find you or will they find your competitors when seeking out your type of product or service.
Well that’s easy, you just have to pay for advertising, right? Google Adwords…pay-per-click. Well, maybe… If you’ve never tried it, you’ve heard of it. If you’ve tried it, you know it works yet you also know how very expensive in can get. Ever wonder how other businesses get to the top of the search list without the paid “Ad”? You guessed right – SEO.
According to Google Trends, search interest for SEO vs. PPC has traded placed over the past decade. Is your marketing strategy the up to date?
What is the big deal?
It’s about knowing what tools are available to you and how to benefit from each of them. I know you’re busy so I’m going to wrap this up pretty quickly. Search Engine Optimization versus Pay-Per-Click advertising could be equated to the difference between purchasing a home and renting a place to live. Both meet a need yet one ends in long-term benefits while the other is a cash-only pay-to-play arrangement.
According to Search Engine Land, SEO is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. A significant amount of work goes on behind the scenes to produce these long-run benefits which is why Search Engine Optimization would be equated to purchasing your online real estate.
Conversely, Wordstream.com defines PPC as a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. While it still takes a good deal of work to run a successful paid ad campaign, the benefits are superficial. Once your ad budget runs out for the day, week, or month, guess what? No more “your business” showing up at the top of the list, or anywhere for that matter. That is why PPC is equated more so with renting your web presence. Not a bad thing, just different. Actually, there is a time and place for both of these tactics in the mix of any healthy marketing strategy.
Who needs it anyway?
If you’ve already got more customers than you can handle, then great – end of discussion. Otherwise, if you are like most businesses, then the more the merrier. In short, most businesses will benefit from an integrated marketing strategy that includes both SEO and PPC. SEO is a slower process that can yield lasting results with proper maintenance (kind of like paying a mortgage). PPC yields instant results, still requires maintenance, however the prices can change at will and yet provides little to no long-term payoff (kind of like renting). Therefore, it is wise to have a good mix of both PPC and SEO to be able to quickly seize opportunities in real-time as well as make more and save more in the long run.
Make smarter use of your marketing budget – start getting more quality conversions.
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