In marketing, visibility is a master recipe for success. Getting your brand’s name out there helps people know the brand and what it stands for, which brings traffic and money. But there are two paths businesses often take. One is the organic strategy, usually having search engine optimization (SEO) marketing at the centerpiece. The other road is paid advertising or pay-per-click marketing. A Denver SEO agency usually offers both of these services.
If you’re wondering which of these two strategies is the better option, stay tuned as this article will discuss SEO and PPC marketing strategies alongside their features, pros, and cons.
What is Search Engine Optimization, SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving a website’s visibility on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. In other words, they are steps businesses take to ensure their businesses appear as top results on search engine result pages. Such steps are crucial for driving traffic because statistics show that about 68 percent of all internet or purchase activity starts with a search engine, yet only 25 percent of people go beyond the first page.
To have a successful SEO marketing campaign, you must understand how search engines work and how they decide which websites make it to the first page. For this article, we’ll use Google as a case study as it is the most used search engine worldwide, with over 92 percent of the search market share.
Google ranks websites and web pages by considering several factors. Here are some of those factors, alongside tips to succeed with this strategy:
- Page relevance.
Google receives billions of search queries daily, each containing unique keywords and hoping to get unique answers. On the backend, Google crawlers comb through billions of websites on the internet to find which web page has keywords that match what the search is looking for. Pages with more relevant information are more likely to make it higher on the ranking list.
In that light, SEO marketing leverages keywords to find the audience that may need particular services. Businesses often use various techniques and tools to discover which keywords in their niche have the largest search volumes and optimize their content accordingly.
The usability of a website is a measure of how friendly it is for the searcher. Google algorithms monitor the website’s layout, load speed, mobile friendliness, and website. A website with faster load speed, excellent navigation, and responsiveness typically gets a better likelihood of ranking higher.
As such, businesses that leverage SEO marketing also ensure that their website has the required SSL encryption certificate for security, an excellent web architecture for easy navigation, and a responsive interface for diverse screen sizes and operating systems.
- Quality of information.
Making quality information accessible is a core aspect of Google’s value proposition. After identifying relevant web pages, ranks sites according to how helpful the information can be to the searcher. To achieve that, Google’s algorithms test for trustworthiness, authoritativeness, and expertise, among other factors.
Businesses include external links to authoritative sites like government agencies, research reports, or industry-renowned organizations to prove the credibility of the information. Besides, Google monitors how long people stay on the content or reference the page. Providing helpful information thus becomes a priority in the SEO marketing strategy.
- Context or micro-targeting
Google’s algorithm also considers the searcher’s location and search history when providing search results. As a result, businesses within the neighborhood of the searcher tend to show up preferentially. Such considerations typically help local businesses get more visibility among locales and others within the area.
What is Pay-per-Click Marketing?
Per-per-click, PPC marketing is an auction-based system where advertisers compete against each other to have their ads shown to users. However, they only pay when they get clicks on their links. With this marketing model, advertisers pay search engine publishers and social media platforms to put their business in front of interested audiences.
For example, Google has a section at the top of the search engine results page for displaying promoted content. Advertisers bid on keywords related to their business and choose how much they’re willing to pay per click. Then, when someone searches for one of those keywords, their ad may appear on the search engine results page. If the person clicks on the ad, the advertiser pays the amount they bid per click.
Besides Google, other social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and others also offer PPC advertisement services. PPC advertising usually involves the following steps regardless of the platform you choose.
- Set a goal. There are several reasons why people run a marketing campaign. Typically, they range from brand awareness to lead generation and sales. One of the first steps when setting ads is selecting your campaign goal. That will help the search engine algorithms target an audience that fits your goal.
- Target a preferred location or demographics. Another crucial step when building a paid advertising campaign is to choose where and who the advertisement should target. You can select specific locations, age groups, gender, and other demographics that fit your target audience. The advert platform automatically niches the promotion to people within the selected criteria.
- Create a message. Pay-per-click advertisement is a more aggressive advertising approach and will require a strong copy to motivate people to click on your promotion. Marketers often invest in creating strong visuals–picture and video– alongside a compelling copy or description that motivates viewers to click through.
- Place a budget. Typically, the rate per click may differ based on the search volume of target keywords, target location, and the platform you are advertising. PPC advert platforms also require people to select how much they are willing to spend on each campaign. Once the budget is used up, the campaign ends.
SEO vs. PPC: 7 Key Differences
The main difference between SEO and PPC is that traffic from SEO is free and organic, while advertisers pay for each click on their ad from PPC. If you’re considering which of the two marketing models to use, we would be comparing SEO and PPC along with their pros and cons:
Traffic from SEO is free, while every click from PPC costs the advertiser a fee. New, non-commercial sites must choose search engine optimization tools to drive traffic. High-end web pages and companies that can afford it usually use PPC to convert traffic into customers.
Paid ads always appear at the top or on the first page of search engine result pages (SERPs). Also, YouTube uses an in-stream marketing model to advertise promoted content to users. Other social platforms like Facebook and Instagram show the ads on the target audience’s feeds.
On the other hand, SEO marketing requires you to research and compete for visibility on your own. How well your content ranks will depend on the quality of optimization.
Both marketing strategies require some understanding and expertise to get the best results. However, SEO marketing is a considerably slower route to visibility. You will often have to test and re-test various strategies and keywords and build consistency over time to compete with millions of already established brands.
While SEO may take time to drive traffic, it helps build brand reputation and credibility with organic visitors. Demand Metric data reports that 82 percent of consumers claim that they feel positive about a company that delivers custom content and is more likely to buy from such a company.
Similarly, 78 percent of customers feel a relationship between themselves and a company after reading custom content. SEO may be the best option to build a long-term relationship with your audience.
PPC has a higher click-through rate (CTR), the ratio of clicks a specific link gets to the total number of users who view the ad or page. That means there is a higher chance of finding a site via PPC than SEO tools. Hence, this may mean better conversion and sales revenue. You can also pay for multiple ads for different keywords on the web page, so you’re sure it may appear in multiple searches.
With SEO, you can create content specifically for your target audience. That may also give you a better chance of attracting potential clients rather than suggesting your post to random people on the internet who may not be interested in your services or products. As a result, SEO traffic would get you better leads compared to PPC.
Which is more effective, PPC or SEO?
The effectiveness of PPC and SEO depends on your business goals and available resources. If your goal is to generate leads or sales, PPC may be a better option because it allows you to target potential customers with ads. SEO may be a better option if your goal is to build thought leadership or brand awareness because it allows you to reach a wider audience through organic search results.
Ultimately, the decision of which is more effective, PPC or SEO, depends on your specific business goals and your available resources. However, both can be beneficial in helping you reach your goals when you apply them simultaneously.
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