When it comes to driving traffic to your website, you can’t go past Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC).
As a Small Business Owner who’s interested in increasing your online presence, you’ve no doubt heard these phrases thrown around. But which of these two powerful Digital Marketing tools is right for you and your business?
As one of Australia’s largest providers of Custom Online Digital Marketing Services for Small Businesses, we get asked this question a lot here at Sites n Stores. Unfortunately, the answer is a little more complicated than simply just one or the other.
That’s why we’ve put together this helpful breakdown of both strategies, which should better inform you as to which of these Digital Marketing methods will work best for your Small Business.
What exactly are SEO and PPC?
Before we dive deeper into answering this question, let’s take a closer look at SEO and PPC, and how they differ from one another.
SEO is all about getting your website to rank higher in ‘organic’ search results for target keywords in search engines, such as Google and Yahoo. Essentially, this free strategy focuses on optimising your website and online content in a way that will get you found more easily by potential customers searching for the products and services you offer. It significantly increases your chances of Search Engines viewing your website as reliable and trustworthy, making you a more favourable choice in search results compared to your competitors.
PPC, on the other hand, is a paid form of advertising. It allows you display ads for your website in the sponsored result section of Google, then you pay a fee – based on the popularity of your chosen keyword – whenever a viewer clicks through from your ad to your website.
Ask Yourself Some Questions
Before you decide on a strategy, you need to consider several factors, such as your budget, business goals and how quickly you want to see results. Some important things to ask yourself are:
1. How Large is Your Budget?
When choosing between SEO and PPC, you first need to decide what size advertising budget your business can support. You can set your daily spending limit as low, or as high, as you feel is necessary and possible for your business. As a starting point, a minimum of $5 to $10 a day is a firm place to start.
If you have no money to commit to your Digital Marketing, you’ll have no choice but to opt for SEO, as this is the free, or ‘organic’ way to increase website traffic. If you’re even a little tempted to invest a small amount in PPC, consider giving it go, as you will be able to determine its success quite quickly.
2. How High are the Average CPCs in Your Industry?
As well as establishing your overall Digital Marketing budget, you should consider what other people in your industry are paying for ads within Search Engine results.
The term CPC refers to the ‘Cost Per Click’, that is, the price users are willing to pay for each click they receive on their ad. Within the free Google External Keyword Research Tool, you can use the Traffic Estimator to determine the exact cost you would incur for each targeted keyword.
For example, if you own a florist in Fitzroy and you wanted to reach people searching for the keyword phrase “florist located in Fitzroy”, the Traffic Estimator might tell you that the average CPC for that particular phrase is $1.47. This means that every time someone clicked on your ad after they searched “florist located in Fitzroy”, you would pay $1.47 for that click, or page visit.
Some CPCs are unfortunately not so cheap and can run up to as much as $20 or $30. Prices like these can make it difficult for a Small Business Owner to turn a profit, so in these instances SEO could be the better choice.
3. How Fast Do You Need Results?
While SEO has the benefit of being a free method of generating traffic, PPC has the advantage of speed.
PPC can therefore be a great choice for businesses that have a newly established website which is not yet appearing on organic search results, as it gives an initial boost. SEO on the other hand can take anywhere between 3 to 6 months to generate results, as it takes time for Google to index and rank the site.
But don’t be fooled into deciding on PPC straight away and ruling out SEO altogether. Though it takes longer, SEO will see a continuous stream of traffic driven to your website over a longer period of time. PPC will indeed give you an initial boost in traffic, but results will die away as soon as you choose to cease your campaign and withdraw your budget.
Sometimes Two is Better Than One
Of course, you’re not limited to using just one of these Digital Marketing Strategies. Many people are under the impression that PPC and SEO are rivals in the world of Digital Marketing, but in reality PPC and SEO actually work extremely well when combined. Their joint power can result in increased visibility and exposure, maximisation of conversions, scope for more in-depth testing, and many more compelling benefits.
PPC is a great way to draw visitors to your website quickly, as its one of the most directional forms of Digital Marketing. In contrast, SEO is a long-term endeavour and requires some patience while it achieves and maintains favorable results.
It’s not that SEO is less effective than PPC, but it doesn’t offer the same sense of immediacy, even though it’s a very powerful Digital Marketing tool. SEO and PPC therefore work especially effectively when used in sync, as together they can achieve both immediate and long-term results.
So, Which is Right For Your Business?
As you can see, the answer to the question, “Which is best for my business, SEO or PPC?”, is not so clear cut.
If you have the funds and the CPCs aren’t too high for your targeted keywords, PPC could be a great way for you to jump-start your businesses Digital Marketing efforts with immediate traffic. It could be your ideal solution if you’re a new business, or one that’s just established a new website, that can afford to dedicate a portion of your budget to a Digital Marketing Strategy.
While SEO does take a little bit longer to yield results, it plays a vital role in increasing and maintaining your website traffic over a prolonged period of time, so is something a Small Business should never completely rule out. It also has the added benefit of being free, making it the perfect choice for a Small Business without a marketing budget.
The ideal choice would be to use both SEO and PPC concurrently, that way you’ll be ensuring your website has a great initial boost of traffic, while SEO will offer a steady flow of traffic in the long-term.
Whichever you choose, it is important to understand that PPC and SEO are both a science and an art to master. There’s nothing to stop you from attempting to create and manage your own PPC and SEO campaigns. However, it takes an expert to craft a campaign that will really maximise your success.
A professional Digital Marketer will ensure you have a campaign that suits your business goals, targets the most effective keywords for your industry and will help manage your budget. All of this will, in turn, result in a much more superior Digital Marketing Strategy that will see your business reaping the benefits.