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SEO vs. PPC: When to Optimize and When to Pay for Traffic

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Written by Flying Saucer Studio

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You’ve done it. You’ve created the latest and greatest, innovative and soul-crushingly gorgeous product, service, or software. You’ve released it to the world!

Now what? 

How do you get people to download it? Make a purchase? I mean, you likely have a website and a plan to market your brand, and if you don’t - give us a call. Seriously, we can help. The biggest problem is, there are millions of websites and social media pages on the Internet so it can difficult to stand out. Difficult, but not impossible!

Over the years, marketers have overcome this hurdle by utilizing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) to attract more traffic and rank higher on Google’s search pages. So, which is better SEO, PPC — or both? Here’s what you need to know:

 

What is SEO?

Many of us discover brands, restaurants, and other e-commerce shops by conducting a simple Google search. 

Here’s where SEO comes in. Its purpose is to get your website to rank higher in the search engines search results. The top-ranked sites are usually found on the first page, so this is where you want your landing pages to be found when a user types in, “where can I find the latest and greatest *insert your product here*”. 

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OK, you get what it is, but where do you start? You can improve SEO by targeting the right keywords, creating quality content and publishing your local business’ contact details (name, address and contact number).

Here’s a handy checklist from Lendvo:

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What is PPC?

PPC - otherwise known as pay-per-click, is an advertising model where an advertiser pays a publisher only if their ad is clicked. This lets advertisers pay for consumers who want to interact with their ad, and are more likely to purchase their product aka convert.

A PPC listing is usually found on the top of the search engine results with the word “ad” and links to other relevant website pages like “Search & Find Now” and “Find More”.

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PPC works for websites that don’t have a strong domain authority to compete with the brands on the first page of Google. You might’ve gotten in the SEO game pretty late, or your competition may be miles ahead in terms of link building and keyword research. Either way, it’s important to get your business ahead in the search results.

 

Which do I choose?

Let’s dive into the stats, shall we? Oh c’mon, don’t groan like that, you’ll like them, we promise:

PPC

  • Google found that search ads can increase brand awareness by as much as 80 percent, which means more consumers remember your brand and are more likely to purchase it when it comes time to part with their coin.
  • According to Hubspot, the top 3 paid advertising spots in Google’s search results receive 46% of the clicks on the page.  So you know everyone is going to be duking it out to be there.
  • Power Traffick discovered that the top three links on a search engine results page (SERP) capture about 50% of traffic for that keyword. This gives a slight edge to the PPC method because it involves buying ad space which is found on the top of Google’s search engine results. 
  • 75% of users click ads because they help them receive the information they need more easily. One-third of the study’s respondents believed that users clicked on an ad because it gave them answers to their search query. 

So, pay-per-click can help nascent companies establish the traffic they need to get an initial increase in user acquisition, start the money flowing, and increase some brand awareness. BUT - we would recommend doing this in conjunction with a content strategy that will have all of that traffic hanging around on your sight digesting all of the amazing things you have to say on the topics you know most about. Because that leads to domain authority, and you don’t want to continue paying for ads forever, do you?

SEO 

  • 93% of online experiences start with a search engine.
  • 81% of online users conducted some type of online research before they made a large purchase.
  • Nearly 80% of consumers ignored paid ads located in search results. Hubspot reports that users preferred organic links a lot more than paid ones. Of the links users click, about 70% were organic.
  • SEO drives 30% of traffic, and 20% of revenue. SEO ROI improves over time as creators publish more content and gain visibility. If you play your cards right, SEO will ultimately lead to higher rankings or more conversions over time. 

Ultimately, there’s no harm in choosing SEO, PPC or both. The option you pick will depend on your budget, target audience, needs, and objectives. Most of the time, brands invest in both strategies and figure out which will work best for them in the long-run, and of course, both of these things run in conjunction with a content strategy is kind of like hitting the marketing and growth trifecta.

Want to learn more? Not sure which way you should go? Schedule an intro call and let us learn more about what you need. 

 

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Article written by Monique Danao

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