PPC and SEO: What are the Differences?
When we think of the main digital marketing channels available to us, it’s PPC and SEO that crop up most often. Though their features, targets and methods differ, the goal always remains the same: making sure your online presence is as strong and visible as possible.
This begs the obvious question: which is better?
Let’s first look more closely at PPC (pay-per-click).
PPC is jam-packed with clever technology but, despite this, still remains renowned for its speed. Of course, such technology does come at a price, but if set up correctly, it more than allows you to reap the rewards.
Being loaded with technology and algorithms, Google Ads allow you to home in on your targets, through tactics such as remarketing. The algorithms feed on your account’s data, providing the biggest bang for your buck.
This increasingly automated platform uses a huge bank of algorithmic data in targeting the precise time and searches that it knows will convert – all backed by an experienced paid media specialist, enabling your business to instantly reach the summit of the Google SERP.
This visibility is great for:
Promoting new websites.
Advertising new ecommerce product lines.
Keeping on the front foot against your competitors.
Reporting on every single piece of data, thus increasing the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Let’s now take a closer looks SEO (search engine optimization).
Likened to that silent hard worker in the shadows, SEO is technical, complex and analytical. With Google not revealing all the elements that make up their search algorithms, hours can go by researching, experimenting and implementing changes across a wide range of on-page tactics and off the site link. As a result, SEOs much research, plan and execute to ensure you get as high up the rankings as possible, although without the aforesaid speed advantages of PPC.
Nevertheless, if a strong strategy is applied, the potential long-term rewards are huge. Such a strategy involves optimising your content for targeted, valuable keywords, enabling search engines to crawl and index your site more easily. This leads to organic search results, hopefully near the top of page one, with your SERP snippet being engaging enough to entice users into clicking onto your website.
With the buyer’s journey acting as a guide, your site’s content can be crafted in a way that effectively answers your potential customers’ queries which, when coupled with a fantastic user experience, builds trust and ultimately action in the form of sales.
SEO and PPC: Head-to-Head
Put simply, when deciding on which route you want to take, think in terms of goals and objectives. Let’s see what a new business’ digital marketing journey might look like, building from the ground up.
4. Business building an audience at the top of the marketing funnel.
3. Message of brand now being spread by returning customers
2. SEO elements now used to capitalise on new traffic
Converting traffic into returning customers
1. PPC tactics to ensure online visibility
E.g. wide-reaching campaign with broad targeting.
Remember, it’s choosing how and when you use each channel that matters. Although PPC might be faster and more measurable in terms of garnering traffic, once the money is no longer put into PPC, the ads stop and the traffic heads out the door along with them.
Alternatively, SEO can offer greater levels of (albeit longer-term) consistency for a less direct cost. Keep in mind SEO can effectively be done manually, through the likes of amending product descriptions on your site. Although the site will still earn traffic without this, it certainly doesn’t hurt to keep the momentum going.
With Google suggesting online consumer intent dependent touchpoints range from anywhere between 20-500, it seems unwise for a business to rely on one single channel for acquiring traffic. As expressed in the above diagram, the multi-channel approach helps to ensure that you don’t miss out on visibility across the entire buyer’s journey.
In summary, there’s no hard-and-fast rule about which one of PPC and SEO is better. Each has its own advantages at particular times, with different businesses being able to reap the rewards of each in different ways. More often than not though, a carefully applied strategy will contain a mixture of the two.
As always, good luck.
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