SEO or PPC – Which one is better?
To increase traffic to your website, you have two basic options: search engine optimisation (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC). SEO and PPC are both incredibly useful ways of improving ranking for your business on search engine result pages (SERPs). However, which one is better? The answer to that depends on a variety of factors.
What’s the Difference?
There are a number of differences between SEO and PPC, but essentially the key differences are in the names. SEO is an organic way to optimise your website for search engines, with specific SEO tools. Free, if you know what you’re doing, SEO improves traffic and branding, and adds long-term value to your website and company. Alternatively, PPC is a way of paying for advertising to increase traffic through Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing. Whenever a potential client clicks through to your website, you pay a sum to the ad provider.
The first thing you need to look at when deciding between SEO and PPC is your advertising budget. SEO can be free, or you can pay for services through a digital marketing agency or an SEO specialist who optimises your content. PPC have specialists you can pay for as well, but you also pay the cost per click (CPC). If you do have money to spend on PPC than you should, but if you have no money for promotion then you can utilise SEO methods.
There are many factors to consider, including the time in which you would like to achieve results. For example, if you have an event coming up that requires visitors to your site sooner rather than later, then PPC would be the better option. PPC works almost instantly and allows you to gain visibility and traffic in a short period. Alternatively, if you have a strong SEO campaign, it is possible to reach the top-ranking on a SERP. However, SEO is more of a long-term way to develop rankings.
PPC’s real force is its potential reach. While SEO is fantastic for directing organic traffic to your website, it’s difficult to know what your reach is. PPC, on the other hand, has guaranteed visibility within Google’s network. This visibility means that you are more likely to reach a wider audience. Nonetheless, while PPC is more effective in its immediacy, SEO has more gains long term. Consequently, if you can wait, then you can afford to wait for SEO to kick in.
You will also want to determine how competitive the SERPs are for your target keywords. You can find this out by entering your keywords into the Google External Keyword Research Tool. This tool will tell you measured competition levels, along with the number of advertisers bidding on your keywords and average CPC. In highly competitive industries, you may find that authority websites dominate results pages for your target keywords. They can be nearly impossible to dislodge from their positions, without a significant investment of time and money. In that case, it may make more sense to pay for traffic via PPC promotions.
What About Both?
PPC and SEO both have their benefits, but when working together—they are even better. In addition to ranking better on SERPs, your site will also potentially produce both natural and paid results. In doing so, you will increase traffic and set your business up to receive traffic in the short, as well as long-term. Using both also allows you to obtain vital information to optimise your campaigns. By identifying the keywords and terms that led people to your PPC, and eventually to a sale, you can improve your SEO content for better results.