The world of online marketing is a dynamic and ever-changing one. A digital marketing strategy that works fine month can perform poorly in the next. Social networks change, trends change, people change…and their appetite for a specific marketing message can go out the window at the drop of a hat.
Sometimes, this makes it very difficult for small businesses and start-ups to develop persistent marketing strategies that meet customer expectations, while maintaining a sensible, cost-effective budget over a long period.
To help businesses understand how the combination of SEO and digital paid media (often referred to as PPC since it is usually paid for on a “pay-per-click” basis) can help you and how to navigate some of the perils, here are a few tips to consider.
Where to start? Understanding the value of SEO and PPC
The best place to start is with the long-term goal in mind.
For most businesses, their digital marketing goal is often repeatable, predictable, low-cost traffic to their website that results in conversions of some type. Conversions could be sales, signups, subscriptions, etc…Essentially, most CMOs or marketing strategists want high-quality traffic.
No problem, right? Not so fast…
Organic Content Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving
In modern digital campaigns, the best way to get that traffic is with a high-ranking position in search engines result pages (SERPs). Being ranked high on Google for the specific search terms that are related to your business is eventually what attracts more visits to a long-term website.
Recent studies conclude that natural search results (SEO) have 75% search volume while pay-per-click (PPC) receives the remaining 25%. On top of that, some experiments have shown that being ranked first in the SERPs can result in a click-through rate of ~55%.
That’s right. The top-ranked listing in the SERPs get 55% of the clicks. The other ~45% is divided up among the rest of the listings on page 1 or the results.
That’s amazing, and every marketer should be working to not only get their content listed, but ranked well in the SERPs. This is referred to as your organic content strategy, or SEO.
Paid Media Advertising Can Kick-start Traffic Generation
While the goal should be long-term, high-quality, inexpensive traffic, the process of getting your content listed and ranked can take time. Research shows that it can take 18 month to 2 years for a good piece of content to get ranked in the top 3 search listings.
Most marketing teams don’t have the luxury of waiting that long in order to see results, which is where a paid media campaign can help. Because Google now places ads at the top of the search results pages, you can buy your way to the top of the page with an AdWords ad campaign.
Which strategy is better? SEO or PPC
The SEO is the process of increasing your site’s ranking in search results for specific keywords and high-quality content. Long-term outcomes can be achieved with tactics like:
- Optimization of the page: involves using metadata and density of keyword enables search engines to easily crawl your web pages.
- Acquisition of external links, referred to as inbound links, from high-quality, authoritative sources.
As I mentioned previously, good SEO requires a lot of patience, but the wait is worth the outcome if you know what you’re doing. In the long term, it can guarantee more traffic by ensuring a higher return for every dollar spent.
In most cases, this organic traffic can be very slow and outstripped by competitors nor can it be segmented by geographical location or by the interests of the people.
As an example, take a look at this post that shows that there was an identified need for a translated version of a blog post. By creating that translated page, the search engines continue to drive increased traffic to the post.
Essentially, Google is driving inexpensive traffic to the site because it recognizes that the content fulfills the needs of those searching for it.
On the other hand, the PPC is the strategy that most companies use to create an immediate presence in the best positions on search results pages and only pay for their advertising when users click on the link to their landing page.
So, for new products or brands that don’t have a strong online presence, a short-term paid search can be a much more effective method, when compared to the long-term, slower results that come from organic results.
The key thing to remember regarding PPC is it costs money. Each time a user clicks your ad, your account will be charged a specific amount. The ads are sold and placed on an auction basis, so highly competitive keyword searches like “best marathon shoes” will have high per-click costs.
Lower demand search terms like “athletic equipment for those with disabilities in Kansas” are less-competitive and, therefore, have a lower per-click cost. Keep in mind, though, that the reason the per-click cost is lower is because there is a smaller audience searching for those terms.
If you are selling athletic equipment only in the state of Kansas, this might be a good thing for you, though.
The key to a successful PPC strategy is to find the right balance between having a large enough audience to generate clicks and an audience that is so big that the competitive nature of the search terms and the volume of clicks kills your budget.
The benefit, though, is immediate results.
In general, PPC can provide highly-targeted results, since you can choose the landing page and attract “self-segmented” traffic, which is looking for something related to what you want.
So, which is better? Neither…they should be viewed as complimentary.
Separately, each tactic offers its own benefits, but together, they provide a combination of short-term + long-term tactics that can both drive traffic and conversions.
Why should these two strategies be combined?
With the use of both SEO and PPC, the chances of clicks and conversions of a given product can double if it is shown as an advertisement and also as the number one of the organic search results. The combination of the ads and the high ranking in the keywords would provide two access routes for users.
NOTE: Google started placing the ads at the top of the search results pages a few years ago and the click-through rates were amazing. As consumers have adjusted and learned that these are ads, they are scrolling past the ads and down to the organic search listings. This is resulting in a decrease in the efficacy of the ads at the top. They still work, don’t get me wrong, it’s just a good idea to go after those ads AND the first organic search listing.
Total traffic could also increase significantly by targeting organic and paid clicks for high-performance keywords, as well as the reputation of your brand by having strong visibility, both organically and as payment.
Finally, with both strategies, you can reach your potential customers in various stages of their analysis process, from research to comparison, and from comparison to purchasing.
Combining SEO and PPC is an effective strategy for small businesses
Overall, the goal of engaging in either PPC or SEO is to increase the awareness of a company, brand, or product. But for small businesses, it can be very difficult to effectively combine these strategies.
Budgets are tight and resources are scarce. For most startups, results have to be able to be seen quickly. For that reason, organic content and SEO are often pushed to the side, in favor of paid media PPC campaigns.
While that can be good to show measurable results quickly, for the longevity of your company, it’s important to start your organic and SEO campaign as soon as possible. The faster you begin, the sooner you will see results and get to take advantage of the inexpensive, long-term traffic that SEO offers.
How can you attract customers to your website using SEO and PPC?
There are essentially three components that you need to consider in any digital campaign:
- Content: it must be easy to understand, informative, and meet the needs of your potential customers
- Navigation: your customers must be able to find the information they are looking for when they do visit your site.
- Design: your images, video, and collateral must be visually appealing, informative, and help the visitor understand why they should buy your product.
When building your SEO and PPC campaigns, if you keep those three elements in mind, you’ll be on the right track for attracting and converting customers.
The final element that you should consider is using a tool like Google Analytics, where you can evaluate the traffic to your site, the sources that are providing that traffic, and identify ways to evolve your marketing tactics in order to attract more customers.
I hope this has helped you evaluate the pros and cons of both SEO and PPC campaigns, as well as the advantages of combining the tactics. While either can stand on its own and deliver traffic to your site, you can significantly increase the chances of success of your business by combining the short-term and long-term outcomes of each.
|Harnil Oza is a CEO of Hyperlink InfoSystem, one of the leading app development companies in New York, USA and India having a team of best app developers who deliver best mobile solutions mainly on Android and iOS platform. He regularly contributes his knowledge on the leading blogging sites.
I want to thank Harnil for the great insights about the value of both SEO and PPC and how each of them can contribute to the success of your online marketing campaign.
Have thoughts on how to leverage both organic search and paid media? Be sure to share them in a comment.