SEO vs PPC: Which Is Best for Your Business? | iST Digital
Written by Cassandra WrightMar 28, 22
Search engine optimisation is the continuous process of improving your website to boost its organic ranking on Google and other search engines.
SEO vs PPC Advertising: Which is best for your business?
There are many different ways to advertise your business online and reach more customers, but most digital marketing strategies fall into two major camps: search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.
Whether SEO or PPC should be your major focus depends on many factors, including how established your company is your short-term and long-term goals, and how much time and money you're willing to spend on marketing activities.
If you're trying to get a new website off the ground, or it's time to rethink your marketing approach, here are the basics of SEO vs PPC, the pros and cons of both approaches and how they can drive your business online success.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the continuous process of improving your website to boost its organic ranking on Google and other search engines.
SEO strategies are constantly evolving and require an up-to-date understanding of what Google's algorithm likes and dislikes and what your target audience is searching for to find local businesses like yours.
With most users never clicking beyond the first page of search results, a prominent ranking improves the chance of customers seeing your website before your competitors.
• 64% of global companies actively invest in SEO (HubSpot)
Advantages of SEO
- More affordable – whether you're doing the work yourself or paying specialists, SEO is generally cheaper than PPC and you won't have to pay when people click your links.
- Wider reach – tailor your content to reach different segments of your audience at all stages of the sales funnel.
- Build authority – prominence on search engines can make your business more recognisable to consumers. It also signifies your authority to Google, improving your ranking further.
- Long-term benefits – although SEO trends change over time, a well-optimised website will generally continue to bring in free traffic for the long term.
Disadvantages of SEO
- Changing rules – Google regularly updates its algorithm to prioritise different factors, which can mean retargeting or replacing content.
- Ongoing commitment – as well as keeping your site up to date, search engines favour active websites that produce new content regularly.
- Takes time – SEO is not a quick fix. You may not see results for several weeks or even months, especially for a new website, and it takes time to measure the success of campaigns.
- Takes skill – search engine optimisation is a skilled field like any other. While anyone can learn SEO, experts can help you to optimise and compete successfully.
When to use SEO?
Any business can benefit from SEO strategies, but this approach could be ideal if:
• You're looking for a long-term investment
• You want to grow your brand and your website
• You want to reach local customers
• You want a high digital presence online
What is PPC?
Pay-per-click is a more direct form of online advertising that involves bidding for ads on search engines and other platforms and paying when these ads are clicked by users.
PPC ads are shown to users who search for specific terms and phrases you're targeting. These users are likely to be engaged by your offers and may be ready to make a purchase.
PPC advertising can deliver instant results, but campaigns need to be well planned to make the most of your marketing budget.
- Businesses spent $144.8 billion on PPC advertising in 2021, up from $58bn in 2020 (Statista)
Advantages of PPC
- Fast results – PPC campaigns can start getting you clicks and sales in a matter of hours, compared to weeks or months for SEO.
- #1 on Google – PPC ads have pride of place above organic search results, so users will see your ads first, regardless of your authority.
- Specific targeting – ads can be customised for each specific audience segment and location.
- Measure success – you can compare and tweak PPC ads in real-time to optimise their success.
Disadvantages of PPC
- Can be more expensive – you pay for every click, so the cost of PPC advertising can add up. This varies by industry and how competitive your search terms are.
- Less control – PPC ads tend to look similar due to their size and content limits, which can make it harder to establish your unique identity.
- Short term – PPC ads can be a great boost in the short term, but your ads will be without continued funding.
- Less forgiving – there is less margin for trial and error with PPC, so it's crucial to get it right and avoid wasting money.
When to use PPC?
PPC could be a better choice than SEO if:
• You want to see instant results
• You have a larger marketing budget
• You're running a short-term promotion
• You have few direct competitors
Can I combine SEO and PPC?
While PPC or SEO may be the more appealing option at different times and for different purposes, you don't have to pick a side. A holistic approach that integrates both SEO and PPC can give you the best of both worlds.
If you have the budget, diversifying with a combined marketing approach can maximise your reach across platforms. Beyond this, SEO and PPC campaigns can also work together for mutual benefit, especially when you:
• Use data from ad campaigns to improve SEO
• Retarget ads to interested and repeat buyers
• Improve ad conversions with effective landing pages
• Promote new content with social media ads
• Dominate search results
What's best for my business?
Whether SEO, PPC or a combined approach is best for your needs depends on many factors and is likely to change as your business grows. Both approaches take time to master and require ongoing vigilance to make sure you don't fall behind the latest trends.
If you need help getting started with search engine marketing or setting up a new campaign, iST Digital's local experts can help. We can optimise your websites and run ads and social media campaigns to grow your online business and sales, with transparent reporting and measurable reports every step of the way.
To find out more about how we help businesses like yours, call our online marketing experts in Perth on 08 9443 2221 or get a quote today.
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