SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click advertising) both have their place within the world of online marketing. Indeed, these are often used in synergy by businesses that wish to increase their exposure while addressing the needs of their clients. However, marketing budgets are often limited. This has led some to wonder where it is best to allocate their funds.
To be clear, most experts believe that it is best to center one’s efforts around search engine optimization. It is nonetheless important to appreciate why this is the case as well as to highlight why PPC should still represent a pivotal portion of any online strategy. Let’s take a look at these concepts in greater detail.
The Benefits of Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization has existed since the early days of the internet. While there are numerous SEO techniques that can be employed, they all intend to achieve the same goal:
To ensure that a website ranks higher within a search engine results page (SERP) while effectively promoting specific products, and or services.
Indeed, it is estimated that businesses across the United States alone will spend nearly $80 billion dollars on SEO in 2021. It is therefore clear to see why adopting the right strategies at the right times is important.
However, we also need to appreciate the other side of the digital “coin”. Search engine optimization is not only focused on generating organic search traffic. It is meant to provide a more targeted and rewarding end-user experience. Blogging, optimized images, the use of long-tail keywords, and a mobile-responsive website design are some of the ways in which these can be achieved.
This is why it is somewhat easy to understand why many businesses spend less time on PPC campaigns. In fact, some ignore these tools altogether. Let us now examine the benefits of pay-per-click advertising before moving on to discuss the big picture.
A Quick Look at Pay-Per-Click Advertising
As a recent post from Roe Graphics rightfully notes, just below 90 percent of all consumers will perform an online search before purchasing a product or service. This is why it only stands to reason that websites which are able to rank higher within a results page are more likely to generate revenue. However, there are several caveats to point out.
One potential concern involves paid advertisements. These will often appear at the top of a results page. Even if a website has been optimized for the correct keywords, paid ads are still favored by major search engines such as Google and Bing. One way to avoid this scenario is to enact pay-per-click campaigns, as they will help to boost current rankings.
Not only can PPC strategies help to boost rankings, but they are designed to target a specific audience. This is one of the best ways to obtain receptive leads who are already interested in what a website has to offer. As a result, businesses can enjoy a positive return on investment (ROI) over time.
Finally, let’s remember that PPC is an excellent way to boost brand awareness. As the online community has become highly competitive, developing an authoritative nature is crucial. Pay-per-click advertising illustrates that a company cares about its exposure and it intends to cater to the needs of a certain demographic. This type of transparency is invaluable.
SEO Versus PPC: Why SEO Walks Away the Winner
Now that we have taken a look at both of these strategies, one obvious question remains. Which one is better for those who are hoping to achieve greater levels of online success? The answer is actually a bit more complicated than you may think. Let us look at the relationship between these two methods before concluding why we think that SEO rises to the occasion.
PPC is Often Included Within an Overall SEO Strategy
Pay-per-click campaigns are considered by many to represent only a single facet of search engine optimization. This likely arises due to the fact that PPC is easy to implement and requires a relatively small investment. Thus, it is lumped together with other common marketing approaches. There is indeed some validity in such an observation. Simply stated, a website can normally enjoy success when solely using SEO as a means of marketing. However, it is nearly impossible to do the same if PPC is used alone.
PPC is an Excellent Way to Compliment Local SEO
It has been found that 80 percent of online buyers will read reviews of local businesses before committing to a purchase. This is why search engines such as Google and Bing place a great emphasis upon local SEO. Thankfully, pay-per-click advertising can be used to target specific customer profiles. This will often provide valuable data in regards to what type of customer responds the most to an advertisement, how much they normally spend, and even which devices are commonly used to access a website. Therefore, PPC can be utilized to create hyper-specific SEO campaigns.
A final factor to mention involves clickthrough rates. It has been found that SEO rates are higher when compared to pay-per-click advertising. Therefore, SEO always has the potential to drive more inbound traffic to a specific website. This factor alone has caused many marketers to prefer search engine optimization over PPC strategies.
A Healthy Balance of Both
Employing the term “better” when comparing SEO and PPC might not be the most logical strategy. Both of these approaches have been designed to perform specific actions and they are valid in and of themselves. Perhaps the main takeaway point here is that leveraging the power of both in synergy is the most effective way to provide a website with the exposure and inbound traffic that it deserves.
There is no doubt that the principles behind search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising will continue to evolve. This is why working in tandem with a leading Digital Marketing and SEO Agency is a wise choice. These experts are well aware of the latest approaches to digital marketing and as a result, actionable advice will be provided at the appropriate times. Either way, SEO and PPC are indeed here to stay.
Ian Carroll has been a Digital Marketing and SEO specialist for over ten years and he currently runs Digital Funnel which is an SEO Agency in Cork, Ireland.