Or if You’re the Boss ….. Online marketing – SEO or PPC? – Which is better for you?
THE BATTLE FOR YOUR BUDGET
There is a constant battle going on for your marketing budget. Every day our customers get multiple phone calls from many different online and off-line advertising companies.
Typical “offline” ones tend to be very much from:
- local newspapers
- printers selling “calendar sponsorship”
- Police / Fire service “Diaries”
- leaflet companies
- Post office TV Screens
- Bus hoardings
- local directories
The online ones generally are a mix of:
- groupon copies/ clones
- online directories
- people promising “guaranteed” results to get to the top of Google.
- But what’s the most effective way?
PPC ADVERTISING – SEARCH IS STILL SERIOUS
For the purpose of this post, we will deal specifically with search engines and paid search, rather than any sort of directory.
Potential clients are always asking us which is better for them, SEO or PPC.
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – is a multi disciplined technique designed to improve the position of a web page in the results someone sees after typing an enquiry into a search engine such as Google.
SEO affects the page “ranking system” used by search engines to determine the relevance of web pages to a user’s organic search.
Search engines use automated methods (“spiders”) to crawl the Internet constantly for new and changed pages. Key characteristics from each page are fed back to the search engine database and algorithms (clever mathematical formulae ) calculate a “score” for each individual page on your site for a particular keyword.
Information found on individual pages is stored in the search engine database to help them respond to searches of the most accurate and efficient way possible.
A good SEO strategy can affect your page scores considerably and push your pages higher up the list of results on the page. SEO experts know many tips and tricks to improve page scores. The aim of SEO is to get on first page (obviously)…
WHAT IS PPC?
PPC marketing – Pay Per Click (Google Ads) is a term used in online advertising on search sites. PPC uses a form of “silent auction” for each keyword. Advertisers using PPC solutions put a bid on certain PPC keywords that they believe their target audience will enter into the search engine when looking for their product or service.
When someone does a search for those words, the search engine displays the advert on the page next to the search results. The term PPC (pay per click) refers to the fact that the advertiser is only charged when someone clicks on an advert. All the keywords paid for in Google Ads are paid for on a per click basis.
Each advert’s ‘on page’ position is mainly determined by how much any advertiser is willing to pay for each click on a particular keyword. As a general rule, the higher up the page, the more someone has paid for it. The actual cost per click for an advert is mainly determined by the popularity of the word.
Common search and broad terms like ‘tablet’ or ‘football’ come with a much bigger cost per click than less common, more direct terms like ‘welding guns’ or ‘Mercedes-Benz E class W-211 turbocharger’. PPC puts every advertiser on a level playing field. A smaller company has the ability to outbid bigger companies for keywords and get noticed.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SEO AND PPC?
SEO is focused on natural search results displayed in the main body of the results page.
listings are displayed as ‘sponsored links’ on the right-hand-side column or at the top of the results page. Natural search results include all web pages which the search engine determined are relevant to the query, while PPC reflects a targeted campaign and may show results only in a specific geographic area or be time specific.
With an SEO campaign, a new website or web page can take several weeks to show up on search engines. However, SEO results in continuous traffic over a longer period of time and gets progressively cheaper per keyword targeted.
PPC traffic is immediate, and is extremely useful to publicise a brand new website, or product and is generally fantastic at getting your business off the ground straight away. The main downside is you always have to pay for “that keyword”, it’s not something that will get cheaper in the same way that search engine optimisation does and generally across most markets the price per click is gradually climbing.
As soon as you stop paying, your adverts stop immediately, and therefore so does your traffic.
3) User Perception
SEO results from an effective marketing campaign can be seen as lacking “bias” and have more credibility. SEO rankings are not “paid” for, as they are based on the relevance between the web page and the keywords.
With PPC, the more you bid for a particular keyword, the higher in the list your advert is displayed for that search. The higher the position on the results page, the more it will be trusted by searchers, and the more clicks it will get.
4) Actual usage
Of course user perception drives usage, meaning most users avoid the ads… – people don’t “trust” the advertising in the same way they trust the “natural” listings which was proven in this case study.
As you can see 94% of users don’t click on the ads at all, the actual figure is as low as 6% (depending on the keyword).
Therefore we can draw the conclusion that being in the natural (optimised) listings could be worth 10 times more in value for any given keyword.
Normal SERP (search engine return page)
Cost is quite difficult to accurately compare ongoing costings of each of these disciplines it’s definitely case with both of them the bigger your budget the more traffic you will get. The main advantage of pay per click advertising is the fact that you can set a fixed budget , stick to it very easily, see immediate results and plough any quick profit back into more online marketing.
However that said, taking into account the huge difference in usage it is safe to say that, in the long term, search engine optimisation tends to work out much much better value for money.
Take Professional advice –
As part of a targeted campaign, both SEO and PPC require a specialist to manage the campaign to ensure you have selected the best keywords for your budget and that your campaign delivers the desired results. You can manage the campaigns yourself but 90% of clients who have tried have lost a lot of money very quickly.
SEO versus PPC – which is the best choice?
Actually, they are complementary. Whether you choose to use SEO, PPC, or both, will ultimately depend on your marketing strategy. If you are launching a new website, you may want faster results and so you may use a short-term PPC campaign. Over the long term, an SEO strategy will return more results for your marketing spend.
You can find out more by calling us or clicking here for our PPC management page.