One of the most common questions businesses have when they first dip their toes into the world of search engine marketing is if they should invest in search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
The simple answer is “Yes. You should invest in both.” We’ve broken down the what & why of each service to help you understand why leaning into these digital marketing strategies will keep your company ahead of the competition.
What is PPC?
Pay-Per-Click Advertising is the most similar to traditional advertising because it is, in fact, advertising. These are the results that appear at the very top of the search results page.
To show up in these spots, companies “bid” on keywords that they want to appear for. The cost depends on how competitive the market is. It’s like buying commercials on television: If you want a spot during the Super Bowl, be prepared to pay a lot more than you would pay on a random Wednesday at 3a.m.
It’s called pay-per-click (or cost-per-click) advertising because businesses only pay when a user clicks on an ad, not just for appearing on the page. In this way, it’s actually better than a commercial because you’re paying for actual engagement rather than just impressions.
Benefits of PPC Advertising
1. Better visibility
Did you notice we said “top of the search results page”? Yeah… that’s where you want to be. With the right strategy and appropriate budget, an experienced digital marketing company can help get you there.
2. Immediate results
We can tell pretty quickly whether a strategy is working or not. This gives us plenty of time to alter execution if the initial plan doesn’t work immediately. On the flip side, when an initial strategy is effective, we’re looking at immediate traffic increases. Not too shabby.
3. PPC data can help inform SEO strategy
We promise we’re not just trying to upsell you on the idea of investing in both PPC & SEO. There is a very real reason they work well together. Like we said, PPC provides immediate feedback, which means immediate data to back it up. This informs SEO strategy to help with the long game. It’s a win-win.
What is SEO?
Where PPC is like traditional advertising, Search Engine Optimization is more like PR and communications. The overall goal for SEOs is to improve a website’s visibility in search results. This involves website structure, content and relationship building (read: link building). Ideally, the goal is to get a website to rank on the first page for targeted keywords.
Like PR campaigns, SEO work is playing the long game. It takes longer for updates to have an effect in the search results page and for the improved data to come in. The good news is that the work typically leads to more sustained success than a PPC campaign. SEO typically requires permanent changes to content and website structure, which lays the foundation for success in the future.
Benefits of SEO Marketing
1. Helps achieve long-term marketing goals
The effects of SEO are a slow burn. As we mentioned, the data is not as fast as it is with PPC, which means the decline is not as fast either. Optimizing your website is the best way to create long-term success with minimal effort.
2. Creates a better user experience & brand awareness
Have you ever been on a super ugly, difficult-to-use website? Yeah, that company needs to invest in SEO. There’s nothing cooler than flowing through a website and getting exactly what you need when and where you need it. I bet you remember those companies and go back to them again and again. That’s what a solid SEO strategy can do for your company, too.
3. Usually the primary source of leads
According to Albacross, inbound marketing (organic marketing) often far outweighs outbound marketing (paid advertising) in lead generation. This doesn’t mean paid advertising isn’t useful (like we said, they work together!). It just means that the long game tends to accumulate leads over time, instead of the quick one-and-done that comes with paid advertising.
How to Decide between PPC & SEO
Well, you shouldn’t need to. We recommend investing in both. If you need to choose between one or the other, consider your goals. PPC is effective for immediate, short-term success, so it’s a good choice for promoting events or sales. SEO is a long-term commitment which means it benefits long-term goals like consistent YOY lead increases. But… why wouldn’t you want both short- AND long-term success?
If you’re interested in learning more about different digital marketing services, Rocket Clicks offers a free initial website audit and strategy so you know exactly what you’re getting before we give it to you. No commitment required. Sound cool? Awesome. Let’s chat.