I hope you’re ready to witness an enticing marketing strategy knock-out because you’ve just earned yourself a front-row seat! Now, one of the most frequently asked questions I encounter when clients are exploring digital marketing is, ‘what will be better for my business; SEO or PPC? But before we divulge into this raging debate, let’s get real.
Dishing out your preference between these two traffic-building heavyweight champs can be tough, and you most certainly don’t want to invest in the wrong one, why? Well think of it this way, it’s like cheering for Goliath over David. When it comes to business you ideally want to pick a marketing model that gets you the biggest bang for your buck. For this reason, it is essential to consider the competing strengths and weaknesses of SEO and PPC and plan accordingly. Now, what better way to accomplish this feat than to watch both these titans clash right now.
MEET THE CONTENDERS
Introducing our first behemoth ‘SEO’- The titan known for improving organic traffic. Search engine optimization, despite its acronym, is as much about people as it is about search engines themselves. It’s about understanding the nuances of search intent. A well-executed SEO program enables your website to rank higher in the organic search results for a set of queries that have been strategically chosen. Every time a user searches a phrase in Google, it’s Google’s job to display the most useful, relevant, and trusted pages related to that search. You want your customers to hit your website and go, “This is exactly what I was looking for!”
- Sustained traffic
- Organic visibility
- Higher credibility & Trust
- Higher ROI
- Slow to yield results
- Highly competitive
- Controlled by algorithms
- Subject to penalization
- Easy and fast set-up
- Better brand awareness
- Agile Testing
- Higher stability
- Continuous Investment
- Cost can spiral out of control
- No. of clicks is not equal to conversions
- Requires skill
Now that you know the competitors, these lead-generating beasts will be going face to face in 6 rounds. It’s finally time to battle it out head to head!
ROUND 1: SPEED
SEO is an ongoing process because developing good organic visibility takes time. In the early stages when you’re trying to gain a foothold in the Google search index, organic growth can be extremely slow and highly frustrating. The competition also plays a vital role in determining how long it will take for SEO to work. To put this into perspective, if you sell ‘fish-flavored tea’, it won’t take very long for SEO to work for you because your competition is low. However, if you sell ‘organic green tea’, well then ‘patience’ and ‘you’ have to be best friends…
However, on the other hand PPC unlike its counterpart offers immediate results. a PPC campaign can be created in days and ramped up in a matter of weeks. There is no quicker way to get in front of customers at their precise moment of need than PPC advertising. It enables marketers to set up ads quickly and start generating leads for their business right away.
ROUND 2: CREDIBILITY AND TRUST
Let me ask you a question, generally when you search for something on google and when you are met with all the sponsored ads, do you click on those ads or do you scroll down in search for more credible information? I skip the ads and I have a feeling that at least 60% of you’ll do it too. Well here’s the thing, the majority of online shoppers trust organic results way more than paid ads when searching for services or products online.
A higher ranking on the SERPs can portray you as a credible source to your searchers. So when users go on your website and find the exact kind of material they are looking for, they begin to see you as an authority in your field and you begin to build significant trust with them. Now, this would mean that you would be likely to have more steady leads and sales if you continue to focus on boosting your website via SEO over paid ads. Also adding reviews and testimonials on your page can amplify your credibility and trust.
ROUND 3: VISIBILITY & POSITION
Next up is ‘position’ and I’m talking about the coveted prime position, the top spot on Google. When it comes to SEO VS PPC, the results can depend heavily on a variety of “key” factors which could probably include the keywords you’re targeting, the keywords on your landing pages, etc. However, if you look closely, there is a visible winner between them. Don’t just take my word for it…have a look for yourself. In the search engine I typed “Organic GREEN TEA” and here is what I was met with.
Credit: GoogleRight away, you notice the “sponsored” results are at the very top. Now If you have a scalable budget, you can always expose your business to more targeted traffic. So where are the SEO-driven results? To find that you need to keep scrolling down. What needs to be understood here is that SEO cannot control google rankings, they can only influence them. Search engines have specific algorithms that calculate the relevance and quality of your page and then go on to rank you accordingly. So ideally SEO with time too can get you first page positions if your site is optimized frequently but fair warning if competitors are spending top dollar on PPC, you might be on the waitlist.
ROUND 4: TARGETING AND CONVERSION:
When it comes to running campaigns with targeted messaging, especially for precise geographic locations, PPC is your go-to aid. With PPC, you possess the ability to show certain ads in one location, while exhibiting other ads in a different location at the same time. Say suppose if you want to set up 20 different campaigns that target 20 different locations, with PPC, it’s a piece of cake! That’s the case for targeting, now what about conversions?
There is no doubt that SEO builds better traffic than PPC, but when you consider the highly targeted nature of PPC, SEO may fall short in terms of conversion. When you create content that is just optimized for SEO, you are essentially advertising to the general populous who are by and large searching for a specific keyword. On the other hand, PPC enables you to target customers using specific stats, for eg; time of the day, search history, geographic location, etc. In certain cases, these laser-targeting techniques can make a sizable difference in converting potential clients. More focus = Higher Conversions, don’t just take my word for it, try it for yourselves.
ROUND 5: LONGEVITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
If you have short-term marketing goals, then PPC is a great source of immediate traffic, however, if you’re in for the long haul and want to consistently drive high-quality long-term traffic then SEO is your best bet. Even though search engine optimization can be a long-drawn exercise, it can be a strategic asset to your business. The results that it yields can be profound for your business since you’ll be getting free leads every day. Hence, you’ll have a strategic advantage over competitors using PPC to generate leads.
On the flip side, paid per click depends solely on your ability to spend consistently. Every time an ad is clicked your business has to pay Google. However, be warned, not every click gets converted to sales. Once your consumer reaches your website or your landing page, your business is rallied with the task to convince the user to make a purchase. Building organic traffic and frequently optimizing your site allows you to maintain high search position rankings long after a PPC campaign draws to an end. The thing to remember here is once your ads stop running, Google will stop sending traffic to your site.
ROUND 6: COST
Finally, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: How much is this going to cost you? Now everything has a price! Whether you choose SEO or PPC as your marketing champion, you will be spending time and or money getting results. The cost of implementing SEO might seem high initially, especially if you’re hiring specialists to help out from the start. However, when you gain good rankings in the end, it justifies the possible heavy outlay.
Now even though PPC advertising may seem appealing, as it lures you with its ability to create exposure, the costs can spiral out of control and exceed the budget if the campaign is not monitored well. If the PPC campaign is not carefully monitored like a hawk, there are high chances that costs would soar resulting in a less ROI. Overall, it’s more cost-effective to optimize your site for organic search than to rely on PPC in the long term.
PPC VS SEO: WHO EMERGED AS THE CHAMPION?
Oops, looks like we have a tie…Round 1,3 and 4 were won by PPC and 2,5 & 6 were dominated by SEO, so what now, could both these champs come together and fight as a united team? SEO and PPC can work side by side to produce more leads for a business. Businesses can create short-term and well as long-term digital marketing goals by leveraging the strength of both these techniques. In short, a well-integrated strategy where you blend SEO with PPC has immense potential to take your business to the next level.
The advantages of running SEO and PPC combined include:
- PPC can be used in conjunction with SEO to sustain page rankings.
- You can retarget organic search traffic with PPC ads, to amplify lead generation & conversion.
- You can increase your chances of appearing more than once on the search results page.
- You can test-winning keywords that you can employ in your organic search campaigns.
- You can utilize both these methods to target prospects at every stage of the buyer journey.