Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) are two critical aspects of digital marketing. Both can help to build an online audience, generate website visitors and capture leads.
When marketing your business online, you have to build an authoritative and trustworthy presence. You’re competing for space on page one of Google, and considering a third of all internet users click the first organic Google search result, it’s important to rank well.
Although both approaches are valuable and may appear similar on the surface, the tactics and end results can vary quite a bit which affects how you should prioritize your approach. The digital marketing experts at Design Thinking have put together everything you need to know about what these terms mean and how they’re useful for your business’ marketing.
What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising?
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is online advertising where, as the name suggests, you are only charged when someone clicks on your ad. While online platforms have evolved to offer different bidding and payment methods such as charging you only when someone converts on your site (ie. makes a phone call or an online purchase), charging for ads by click is still one of the most popular methods.
PPC is a fairly broad term to describe a variety of online advertising platforms. Traditionally, it’s been used to describe paid search and display ads. These days, social media advertising is sometimes included in the umbrella of PPC strategies. At Design Thinking, our PPC advertising is typically focused on the Google Ads platform using both search and display ads.
Depending on the type of ads you run and how you target them, PPC ads can help you at any stage of the buyer’s journey from awareness and consideration all the way through to driving conversions and promoting loyalty and engagement.
The Key Benefits of PPC Ads
One of the best things about PPC advertising is that it brings immediate visibility to your business. While SEO takes months for the results to come to fruition, you can set up a PPC campaign in a couple of hours.
This makes PPC advertising extremely beneficial when advertising a new business or other time-specific ads such as seasonal products or promotions.
Some Downsides to PPC Ads
While paid search ads also show up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) similar to how the organic search listings do, they ultimately have no effect on your organic search ranking.
PPC ads also stop as soon as you stop paying for them. There is no long-term or cumulative benefit to your website or online presence like there is when you invest in SEO. While PPC ads get you faster results, which is obviously critical when you need it most, it may end up costing you more in advertising fees in the long run.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is a collection of tactics designed to help increase your rankings and visibility in the organic search results. Some of the many factors involved in effective SEO include:
- Keyword research
- Content creation such as landing pages and blogging
- Link building to improve domain authority
- On-site optimizations such as headers and image tags
- Technical improvements such as page speed and site crawling
- And so much more
The Key Benefits of SEO
SEO is one of the best investments you can make in your online marketing because of the long-term benefits. While it takes time for the benefits to really come to life, once they do, they increase over time and don’t immediately disappear when you stop actively doing SEO work on your website.
SEO also tends to generate more and higher quality leads than other forms of digital marketing. While it takes time to get that point, the wait is worth it.
Some Downsides to SEO
While SEO is a great long-term investment, if you’re launching a new business, promotion or going through tough times you might not be able to wait.
SEO is also a rapidly changing area of marketing, possibly more so than any other digital marketing strategy. This means you the person in charge of your SEO needs to stay on top of trends and respond accordingly. If you fall behind or you suffer during a large update, you could lose a lot of web traffic and potential business.
Which One is Better – SEO or PPC?
Marketing your business is a marathon, especially when it comes to the digital world. You need to pace yourself and think about the long haul. Otherwise, you’ll run out of energy and money. Sure it’s important to get a head start but don’t let that initial pace define your journey.
PPC advertising is great for offering short-term gains. With the proper budget, you will see more website visits and more leads. However, it isn’t always a cost-effective solution to building an online presence, and as soon as you pull the plug on funding you’ll be right back to where you started.
SEO is the long-term approach. It’s about using consistency with content to develop a loyal, engaged audience of repeat customers. More importantly, it’s about optimizing your website for the user experience by creating educational and trustworthy content that tells search engines you’re a reputable source of information on specific subject matters, such as digital marketing.
For optimal results, we recommend that businesses beginning their marketing journey invest in content marketing and SEO, and use PPC to promote this content as much as their budget allows. As organic traffic builds, which could take anywhere between 6 months to a year depending on your SEO budget, PPC can be scaled back and used as a tool to promote specific offers and generate leads in areas of relevance.
In a nutshell, SEO should be at the foundation of everything you do. It’s your ticket to a loyal audience on the web. And deploying PPC early on can help drive traffic to your site as well. For more information on how we can use PPC and SEO to improve your online ranking and overall marketing in Brantford, contact Design Thinking today.