Should Your Business Be Implementing SEO or PPC?

Should Your Business Be Implementing SEO or PPC?

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Here’s the Situation: Your business has a website. It’s been up and running for awhile, but you’re not seeing the traffic online you’d been hoping for when you set it up. Maybe initially you were all over search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing but nowadays you’re lucky if you’re on page 4! You try to tinker with the pages yourself or hire some guy hoping that it’d be some quick-fix, but you’re still having trouble being on major search engines? What can I do? How do I get my website back on the front page?

The answer is Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM is made of two parts: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising. SEO generates traffic for “free,” while PPC does it at a cost to you. How do the different strategies work and which one is more cost effective for my budget?

pay per click advertising

Pay Per Click (PPC) involves putting money behind certain keywords, so that your advertisement displays in paid search positions on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing or other Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). The higher position of the ad, the more likely a user will click through to your website or landing page. With PPC you garner free impressions through visibility on the SERP, but only pay for the clicks the ad receives.  You are allowed to set your PPC campaign on a daily, weekly or monthly budget. Once you determine the budget that woks best, you are able to continually monitor Cost Per Click (CPC), Cost Per Lead (CPL) and Impression Share (IS). Because you only pay when an interested prospect clicks on your business, your CPL can be much better than other traditional marketing efforts where you spend X amount of dollars and hope your target market actually engages with the ad (IE Radio, Billboard, Direct Mail, TV). The old adage of “50% of my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half” is essentially eliminate.

If instant results are what you are wanting, PPC is the smartest strategy to implement. In fact, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report, search ads accounted for $9.1 billion, or 39 percent, of the total Internet advertising revenue for the first half of 2014. When including mobile-related search revenue, search ads totaled $11.8 billion in revenue. PPC can show results fast. You can start a PPC campaign on Monday and literally start seeing results in terms of traffic and conversions on Tuesday. There are virtually endless opportunities for keywords to market for and geographic areas to target.

PPC marketing efforts like text ads, re-marketing, digital display, video ads and product listing ads all help with the conversions to your website. If you have a new website to push? PPC could give the immediate push. New Product? Yup. New widgets on your existing website? Totally! Advertising a webinar or event? PPC is an unbelievable strategy. Want to reach someone in a specific place during a specified amount of time? It’s great for that! PPC is an affordable way to see these immediate or short term results because you are able to (or hire someone else) to manage your campaign and set your budget. You can increase, decrease or pause your campaign whenever you see fit. In the digital age we are in, having the flexibility to maneuver your marketing/advertising budget is amazing!

PPC gives you the chance to test which keywords convert better to phone calls rather than trying to guess yourself what you should optimize your website for. PPC is also an ongoing addition to your marketing portfolio. Lots of people who try to do PPC, however, can’t turn a profit because they don’t have low enough costs or because they don’t do the math with conversions enough to justify a solid ROI. As more companies trend towards the auction that is PPC, the price per click and lead goes up. What might have cost $5 for a keyword in 2014, is most likely $7 per click in 2015.

PPC is not an easy plug and play marketing opportunity. It takes skill and can be a full-time job. You can’t just hire some college student or family member to attempt PPC. That’s idiotic and you’re going to waste your marketing resources dollars. The skill and strategy and a thorough understanding of how PPC campaigns are set up and monitored is best suited for the professionals. Do you due diligence and interview credible trustworthy advertising agencies or hire someone that has had years of experience managing a wide multitude of campaigns.

One of the largest drawbacks business owners find difficulty with PPC is that they become constant slaves to the SERPs. They crave the vanity of continually showing up on page one! Once your budget runs out for the day, week, or month, you’re not longer found on the SERP. It’s a crazy feeling that you’re missing out on those all important clicks, conversions, and leads! With PPC, you are constantly renting your spot.  Is PPC the best marketing strategy in 2015? Let’s take a look at SEO and compare.

 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long-term website marketing strategy verses PPC’s immediate results. It has a longer cycle to provide and justify an ROI. Think of SEO as a mortgage on your home. At the beginning you’re paying off the interest not seeing a huge dent into the principle, but after awhile, your principle starts to dwindle until it’s eventually paid off and you officially own it! With SEO you can be paying companies money in the beginning not seeing a great ROI, but once you see yourself on Page 1 of SERP, it’s money well paid. Every click that used to cost $5-15 from PPC is now has the potential to have free conversions for you.

Organic traffic on search engines are 8.5x more likely to be clicked on than a paid search ad. More individuals are learning the difference between organic and sponsored search (PPC) results which are changing how they click on a SERP. They are learning that the organic results are typically the more respected and relevant resource. Unlike sponsored search ads, search engines pull SEO results based on Relevancy and Authority. Research has also found through heat maps that the eyes focus on the top organic results, the map section and barely notice the sponsored search ads to the right.

According to BrightEdge data, organic search was the largest driver of traffic to websites and one of the largest drivers of revenue. According to Groupon’s statistics, up to 60 percent of their direct traffic is actually organic search. says SEO is the most effective acquisition channel for 85% of retailers. In fact, 80% of clicks resulting from a search on a SERP are from the organic link rather than sponsored search. From a recent poll, 86% of web users trust organic SEO results on a SERP over a sponsored/paid listing.

SEO’s ROI will continue to climb long after PPC. When the budget is over with PPC, the SEO links are still on the SERP. PPC data helps your SEO team know which keywords are converting well. The goal would be to optimize for the most expensive keywords that convert to your website the best. Therefore, you are no longer “renting your space” on search engines and now building equity into your website. Once optimized, move the PPC budget to other keywords and geographic areas that are not yet optimized.

Even though SEO is “free,” it requires the most effort and hard work to win traffic on a SERP like Google, Yahoo and Bing. If you were wanting to try and learn about how your website should be correctly formatted yourself, read the article “Started A Website, What’s Next?” Companies invest money into experts and advertising agencies to do the work for them due to their expertise and the time it takes for a website to show up on search engines. There are no shortcuts that last long-term for ranking high when creating a healthy website. Search Engines like Google have actually blacklisted and removed companies websites who use improper SEO tactics (Black Hat SEO).

SEMPO, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, estimated that 87% of all search engine dollars are spent on Sponsored Search vs. 11% spent on SEO advertising. That means the strategy that’s over 5-times more effective, SEO, is only receiving 1/8th the media spend in the digital advertising market space. For almost every keyword you can search for, the competition is quite high. Optimizing for every keyword can prove challenging and people would rather deal in the PPC world to bid on a piece of the 20% market share rather than try to optimize for the 80% market share. When asked, small to medium size businesses just don’t know where to go to and who to trust with their website.

Search Engine Optimization takes dedication in reviewing each keyword and keeping up to date on the latest updates from these engines. Algorithm changes happen constantly to “shuffle up the deck” and not have the same results show up on these engines. in fact in 2014 there were over 500 changes to Google’s algorithm.There are four major changes, however, SEO experts tend to focus on: Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, and Pigeon.

Internet marketing in 2015 is about integration. Be smarter than 81% of the businesses out there who do not take advantage of search engine optimization. There are only a select number of spots to be on the front page of search engines. Most people do not go to page two of search results. In fact, Academic research indicates that 91% of searchers do not go past page one of the search results and over 50% do not go past the first three results on page one. Having a double listing within the SERP from SEO and PPC reinforces your brand in front of searchers; it gives your brand the opportunity to take up more “digital shelf space.” The exposure that you receive from a PPC ad can indicate trustworthiness to consumers. Google’s research blog shows that even if you rank #1 in Organic SERPs, having a PPC ad on that page as well improves traffic by 50%. If you rank #5 or lower in Organic SERPs, PPC exposure can boost your traffic by 96%.

Design a PPC marketing campaign and rent your space to gain that immediate boost of energy in your business. Find the keywords that are converting the best and use that data to optimize your website with Search Engine Optimization. Once you are fully optimized for those keywords, change those PPC to another subset of keywords and continue the same trend. Search Engine Marketing is a collective grouping of both marketing efforts. Too many companies try to sell small-medium size businesses that one method of advertising is better than the other. These two mediums are not at odds with each other. The smart marketer implements both strategy and learns the benefits of using both. Try to work with agencies and individuals who develop a strategy for both and have resources to either manage both or be your project manager for both.

If you have limited resources, first do PPC campaigns. This will hopefully get you that instant conversions from customers to provide cash flow necessary to implement strong SEO campaigns. Take that money an actually INVEST it in SEO! Work with trusted campaign managers who will work with or manage your PPC and SEO campaigns to develop the best strategy to build immediate results and long lasting equity into your website.

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