Do you want to get more traffic to your website? Of course, we all do right?
The two primary ways to bring more visitors to your website is through search engine marketing (SEO) strategies and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Both are effective means of acquiring new visitors and leads for your business.
But the question remains: Which is better, SEO or PPC? Read on as we examine SEO vs PPC, the pros and cons of each, and which one is best for your business.
What Are the Pros and Cons of SEO?
The purpose of SEO is to attract more search engine traffic to your website. This is often referred to as organic or free traffic. Here are some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages of organic traffic through SEO efforts.
The Advantages of SEO
Cost: The most obvious benefit of organic traffic is that it costs you nothing unless you outsource your SEO to a professional agency. Hiring SEO experts are not cheap but the cost is still a very cost-effective way to drive traffic to your site and build brand awareness
Brand awareness: The brand awareness of your business improves as searchers begin to see your business name show up for queries of important commercial and informational terms.
Authority and trust: Your brand can become trusted by searchers who perform commercial queries and informational searches. Being visible in the search results is like having a stamp of approval, especially if it is accompanied with reviews and other positive social signals.
Higher click-through rate (CTR): A greater percentage of users skip past the ads and click on the more trusted organic search results.
Return on investment (ROI): Because the cost of SEO is often less than PPC campaigns, the return on investment is usually higher. Also driving up the ROI is the fact that an organic search result is 8.5 times more likely to be clicked than a paid search listing.
Long-term stability: Unlike paid search listings, your incoming traffic doesn’t stop the minute you discontinue a PPC campaign. Depending on a variety of factors, some of your site’s pages could stay near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for several months or years.
The Disadvantages of SEO
Takes Longer: SEO is a long game. It usually takes a long time to show up near the top of the search results. The time range could range from six months to several years, depending on the level of competition in your niche.
Competition: Competition usually isn’t a major issue in smaller niches or for local traffic. But if the search terms you want to target are dominated by Fortune 500 companies, you probably need to rethink your marketing strategy.
You’ll Need Staff or Outsourcing: If you’re in a competitive industry, you will need to publish a lot of high-quality content. Also, SEO requires link building to rise up the search engine ranks. It’s a time-consuming endeavor that requires a dedicated person so you can keep working on your core business practices.
What Are the Pros and Cons of PPC Marketing?
Since most people skip the paid listings and click on the more trusted organic search results, why would anyone want to use PPC marketing for traffic?
Actually, PPC campaigns deliver a number of advantages for business owners. Here are the pros and cons of PPC:
The Advantages of PPC
Not just Google: Google is the name of the game when it comes to organic search. They’re a huge player in the PPC world as well. But you can also advertise on many other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Page position: The first search results at the top of Google search pages are PPC listings. Even if a user chooses an organic result, they still see your ad, brand and message.
More control over listings: When it comes to organic search results, Google ultimately decides what they will show next to your link. But with PPC, you can control the words you use.
You can pitch your products and services. You can even add pictures to show visitors exactly what they’ll find when they click. Strategic and well-reasoned PPC ads can outperform organic search results in some instances.
Better conversion rates: Although organic search results are clicked more often, users who click on a paid listing are 1.5 times more likely to convert to a sale.
Speed: PPC is considerably faster than SEO when it comes to delivering results. A new site with an effective ad campaign can get traffic in less than an hour. On the contrary, most SEO experts set your expectations at about six months before you start receiving measurable traffic results.
Perfect for testing: Got a new product or service idea for your business? Test its viability with a strategically placed PPC campaign. You can quickly determine if there’s a true market for your offer.
Scalability: Unless you are using PPC strictly for branding, the ideal campaign drives sales revenue which is higher than the ad spend. If you break even, fine-tune your ad with better targeting, copy and images until your campaign is profitable. Then, you can scale up considerably over time and multiply your profits.
The Disadvantages of PPC
Cost: Although it’s easy and usually inexpensive to get started, you need to pay close attention to your campaigns. Because even if you cap your ad spend, you won’t want to continue a campaign if it is not producing results.
Harder to Sustain: – PPC is a “pay to play” game. If you don’t pay, your traffic dries up. If market conditions change or competition rises, you’ll need to reassess your campaigns.
Competition can steal your campaigns: Digital technology drives PPC marketing. The flip side is it means competitors can use the same technology to copy your ads and even your entire campaign. The barrier to entry is low with PPC advertising. If a competitor has the money, they can compete with you rather quickly.
SEO vs PPC: Which One Is Best for My Business?
It’s impossible to know which strategy is best for your business since all businesses are unique and operate with a large number of variables.
It may be wise to use both SEO and PPC with a cohesive and strategic plan.
For example, if your site is new, start off with PPC. It is the perfect way for new businesses to get initial traffic, leads and sales.
At the same time, kick off your SEO strategy by building up content and backlinks to your site.
Over time, you’ll perfect both strategies and you could end up with a well-oiled traffic machine that delivers continuous web traffic to your business.
The Bottom Line
The SEO vs PPC debate will likely live on forever. Which one is best for you really depends on the unique needs and resources of your business.
Both strategies come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Determining how those variables affect your business will lead you to the best decision for your company.