Organic SEO and paid ads like PPC are each effective in their own way, and they are most effective when you use them together. However, some clients will approach you, wanting one or the other. In today’s blog, I want to help you choose what technique you should suggest for your client’s campaign. Use this as your guide to explaining the benefits of each, helping you and your clients decide what method to use. Have a look at some of the deciding factors you will consider when choosing between PPC and SEO.
Search engine optimization is a type of inbound marketing. You boost your visibility on the SERPs naturally by influencing others to talk about you and link back to your site. Instead of directly marketing your products, you focus more on providing relevant information and establishing your brand as a leader in your industry. This process requires months before showing results, but these results last as long as you maintain your online presence.
Pay per click advertising, on the other hand, is a type of push or interruption marketing. You sell your products or services directly. Think of it as the Internet’s very own TV ad, where you have limited time, copy and space to communicate your brand message and sell your product line effectively. It’s ideal if your client wants to see instant visibility. PPC is also the perfect solution for crisis management – if you want to get a message across your audience at once, PPC is the way to go. PPC is also more suitable than SEO in terms of protection from search engine algorithmic changes.
According to compilation of statistics done by Search Engine Journal, 70-80% of uses ignore paid ads and focus on organic search results instead. This puts SEO way ahead of PPC. SEO also trumps PPC in terms of closing deals and generating conversions. Inbound leads – those that come from SEO, for example – have a 14.6% close rate; meanwhile, outbound leads like PPC only have a 1.7% close rate.
SEO is also ahead in terms of brand messaging. Organic SEO uses many platforms for communicating your client’s message and telling their brand story. There’s no word or style limit, and as long as you practice context marketing, you can expect more traffic on your site. On the other hand, because you have limited advertising space in PPC, you need to make your message pop out from the rest of the ads. It could be more effective for people who do not have time to read lengthy pieces.
While SEO seems to be more effective so far, PPC has the advantage over two areas: providing visibility for competitive keywords, and quick testing and consumer analysis. If your client has the budget for a PPC campaign, all they need to do is pay the cost of your recommended keyword bait and they will be instantly visible on the SERPs for competitive keywords. This is ideal if your client is competing with an established brand, and it will take a huge amount of money and months of waiting before you can hope to break through their rankings. It’s easier to test because you can tie in your PPC campaign with Google Analytics and see where most of your clicks and conversions are coming from. You can modify your strategy right then and there.
As a rule, PPC is more expensive than SEO. This is because the customer cost per acquisition (CPA) is higher. What makes CPA lower in SEO is the fact that you are building your clients’ visibility mostly on free platforms. You have to pay for website hosting and even a web design template to begin with, but the rest is free – social media accounts, guest blogging, PR connections, email marketing and forum participation do not cost a single penny.
Both services require a monthly fee for you to implement them. The only difference is in PPC, your clients will have to pay the cost per click (CPC) on top of your monthly maintenance fee. Your client will need to set daily, weekly and monthly budgets for each PPC campaign you launch. The fee will depend on how competitive your keyword is and where you place the PPC ad. Explain this to your client thoroughly and clarify if they have a separate budget for a PPC campaign before proceeding.
SEO emerges as the stronger and more preferred way of marketing online, but PPC has its own strengths too. Make sure the method you choose aligns with your client’s goals. The most ideal answer, however, is not to choose – cross-sell whenever possible. Let your clients know how they will benefit from SEO and how PPC augments the results you get, ensuring you reach the widest audience.
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