There are two major search engine marketing strategies in use today: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click). Both strategies are entirely different and it is tough to decide which one or which combination is right for you.
To decide which strategy is best for you, consider the basics. It is easier to judge the pros and cons when taking the big picture into account. People will continue to battle for the top search engine positions. Search engine marketing is undoubtedly one of the best sources of targeted traffic.
As people continuously try to find new and unique ways to get additional traffic to their web sites, the SEO industry continues to grow. PPC refers to advertising on a search engine that charges on a per click basis whenever a visitor clicks on one of your ads. The order of ads is usually based on bidding prices, meaning that the advertiser who bids the highest price per click will be listed first. These sponsored listings are known as PPC listings.
SEO tries to change your search engine ranking by looking at a number of factors including link popularity, Page Rank and so on. If your web site is search engine optimized then obviously you are more likely to have a good ranking in the search engines. A well-optimized and marketed site will be listed in the top results whenever a person searches for related keywords. One of the best benefits of SEO marketing is you don’t have to pay for any clicks! So, how can we decide which method is better? Both methods actually serve different purposes. However, one is likely to be a better fit for your business than the other one.
PPC traffic, rankings and results tend to be more stable and predictable than SEO, and, combined with its low cost, this makes PPC one of the more popular ways of advertising. Most companies try PPC before they try SEO, because it’s seen as more stable. In many cases PPC lets you rank well on the search engines, without having to do the tedious work involved in SEO – no finding link partners, posting links, creating content and so on. As long as you have the budget for it, the ranking is yours. Another advantage is that the listing will get posted when you want it and not when the search engine gets around to it. With PPC’s popularity growing day by day, the market is also getting competitive. You will find that CPC’s (costs per clicks) are steadily rising, and for a common man it is getting tough to invest much. As with most auctions, the more people bidding on PPC, the higher the prices get.
The main benefit of SEO is that it does not cost per click. The disadvantages are that the traffic to your website is more unpredictable and requires a lot of work. With SEO, you have to adapt and constantly change strategies as search engines change their algorithms. SEO is also slower than PPC, as many search engines don’t list new sites.
So what should you choose? Well, it depends on how much money you are willing to spend, what your time line is, and what your return on investment is. If you have cash then PPC should be your first choice, as it produces fast results. PPC can also be used for testing the effectiveness of web sites. If you have time and money to invest in long-term results, SEO is an excellent option as well.
All and all, the best marketing strategy is typically to go with PPC in the short term to get immediate traffic and analyze conversions. SEO should then be taken with a long term view in mind, so you can reap the benefits of free traffic later on.