Search engine optimization (SEO) includes the activities relating to improving your ranking position in search engines to generate more free traffic, while pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allows you to place your ad in search results and pay for each click you get. They are very different, and both effective in their own way, but which is the better investment?
SEO is the process of editing, adjusting, and updating your website so that search engines like Google and Bing find it as relevant as possible (rank it well) for the search terms people use to find a business like yours. So for example, if you own a pizza shop in Ottawa, you might optimize your website for the keyword “ottawa pizza delivery” so that it ranks well for this term in organic results – bringing free traffic.
PPC, or pay-per-click is the type of advertising offered through programs like Google Adwords and Bing Ads. Through the Adwords and Bing interface, you can decide which ‘keywords’ you want to advertise for, and how much you’re willing to pay for each. You then pay for each click you get – relative to what you’re bidding on them. The higher you bid, the higher your ad will be in the paid search results, but the more you will pay per click.
Short term: PPC is the winner.
If you’re launching a new product, a new website or just need a quick boost in traffic, a paid campaign through Adwords will give you the quick traction you need. The ROI you see from paid search advertising will be fairly constant, but will have a slight upward trend with good management and optimization that continually refines it to perform better.
Long term: SEO is (almost) always the winner.
When SEO is done right and done well, the eventual benefits can be extraordinary, and the initial investment could more than pay for itself. See our portfolio entry for our St. Lucia Villa website project which featured advanced SEO. The entire website project and all our SEO work paid for itself in just 6 months with all the free, organic traffic it captured.
The reason we say “almost” always the winner, is because you can never guarantee results with SEO. Ultimately, it’s up to Google and we can only put all the best practices in place to give you the best chance possible, but it also depends on how competitive your industry is.
With few exceptions, we always recommend an online marketing mix of both SEO and PPC for our clients – and especially for new websites. By starting off strong with PPC, you can start bringing immediate traffic and sales which can help pay for the SEO investment at the same time. Then, once the affects of SEO start to kick in and you start receiving more free traffic, you can start to phase out Adwords if you have enough organic traffic. Or you may even wish to keep going with Adwords as a supplement if it’s bringing a good return!
As we mentioned, for good results and ROI, you’re best to leave SEO and PPC to the professionals. If you think your business could benefit from SEO or PPC or a mix of the two, get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to discuss more strategies!
Thanks for reading,