When you’re looking to grow your business, the question of how to bring in new customers and reach your audience is one of the most important to answer, particularly if you’re advertising your business online.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click) are two methods of marketing for small businesses that work well when used and implemented correctly.
The question is, which method is right for you? In this article, we’ll take a look at both the positives and negatives of SEO and PPC and help you decide which marketing method suits your business.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of improving a website to increase its visibility for relevant searches. The more relevant your site is and the higher it ranks within a search engine, the more traffic your website will attract.
SEO is about understanding what people are searching for online, the answers they are seeking, the words/phrases or sentences they’re searching for, and the type of content they wish to consume.
While SEO can be simple to get started with, it can become more complex the more you dive into it. For a full break-down on how to get started with SEO check out Moz’s comprehensive guide to getting started with SEO here.
What Are the Advantages of SEO?
SEO Directs Traffic to Your Website
One of the main reasons to invest in SEO is to drive traffic to your website. With 67% of all clicks going to the first five organic results when a term is searched for in Google, it’s vital that your website shows up when a potential customer searches for a term related to your business.
SEO Is Cost Effective
With plenty of free SEO tools on the market SEO doesn’t have to cost your business a lot of money. This is particularly true if you’re just getting started with basic SEO practices such as conducting keyword research with a free tool such as Google Keyword Planner.
Is SEO Right for Your Business?
One of the most straightforward ways you can tell if SEO is important for your business, ask yourself..do you have a website? If you do then the chances are your business can benefit from SEO.
If your website isn’t ranking on search engines, then potential customers aren’t finding your website. The good news is that over time you can improve our websites ranking through taking consistent action and developing your SEO strategy.
To get started, take a look at your website and list down everything you think could be improved. You may be surprised by how much you uncover when you sit down and take the time to go through each page on your website and not down what needs improving.
From there, you can carry out an SEO audit of your site to uncover further improvements you can make to boost your search engine rankings. If you have the budget, then seeking the help of an SEO professional is a great way to kickstart your SEO efforts.
It’s worth remembering, that while SEO is effective, it can take time to start seeing results. If you’re going to take steps to improve your website’s ranking, then be willing to give it 6-12 months to see the results come to fruition.
What is PPC?
PPC stands for pay-per-click, and it’s a form of internet marketing where advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked on. In simple terms, PPC is a way of buying visitors for your website rather than earning them organically.
There are different types of PPC ads available, but the most common type is the paid search ad. These are the kind of ads that appear in searches when people search for a search term.
For example, if you type into Google ‘’pizza near me’’, pay-per-click ads would be triggered in the search. PPC is most often used when a business needs to capture leads quickly and achieve a quick result in engaging customers.
What Are the Advantages of PPC?
PPC Gives You Quick Results
One of the distinct advantages of PPC is that you can see results right away. If you’ve got an effective landing page set-up, then you’ll be able to start capturing leads and driving traffic from the moment your PPC ads are launched.
You Only Pay When Someone Clicks Your Ad
As the name suggests, one of the best things about PPC is that you only pay when someone interacts with your ad. This not only helps to drive conversions, but also keeps you from spending excessively as you can set your maximum spend ahead of time to ensure you don’t exceed your budget.
You Can Quickly See How Your Ad Is Performing
No matter what PPC provider you choose for your ads, all of them provide stats on how your ad is performing. These include: amount of clicks your ad received, how much of your budget you’ve spent and many many more.
PPC Ads Allow You to Reach Your Ideal Customers
By conducting keyword research, you can determine the keywords that your potential customers are searching for. Once you know what your target audience is searching for, you can then go about bidding on those keywords to get your ad in front of that audience.
Is PPC Right for Your Business?
Deciding whether PPC is right for your business can be a tricky one. On the one hand, PPC advertising can give you quick results when you need them. On the other hand, it can take time to familiarise yourself with the various PPC platforms out there, and it can be easy to overspend when you’re testing out new campaigns.
PPC can also be a difficult strategy to implement if your budget is low or you have a low-profit margin. For example, if you’re only making £1 per sale but spending 0.98p on ads to get the sale, then your profit margins aren’t particularly high.
If your profit margins are high, or you’re in an industry with high customers lifetime values such as being a dentist, private doctor or financial advisor. Then your profit margin on getting customers from PPC campaigns can be extremely high.
Along with profit margins, it pays to have a strong understanding of your target market before you launch a PPC campaign. Users are far more likely to click on an ad that is targeted to them, so if you know your audience, targeted PPC advertising has great potential.
If you’re going to run any kind of PPC campaign or if your sales are a little slower than you like then make sure your busy is ready for an influx of potential new customers. There’s nothing worse than spending a lot on a new form of marketing, seeing success but then not having the resources to meet an influx of new customers.
It also helps to have a fully functional user-friendly website when you’re launching any kind of PPC campaign. A strong, informative website makes it easy for those who click on your ad to easily discover more information about your brand, products, services or business.
Is SEO or PPC Better for Your Business?
Both SEO and PPC don’t need to be mutually exclusive and can be used side by side if you’re looking to grow your business. You can use both in tandem, or there may be times where one strategy is more congruent than another for what you’re trying to achieve.
If you’re looking to achieve long-term results and really drive traffic to your website from search engines, then consider investing in SEO. From there, you can begin looking at PPC campaigns to complement the growth you’re seeing from your website.
If you’re looking for quicker results, then getting started with PPC is the fastest way to drive new leads for your business. There are pros and cons to both approaches and don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers right away.
By taking the time to come up with an effective marketing strategy and getting professional help, you can set your business up to enjoy the long term benefits of both SEO and PPC advertising campaigns.