In the business of internet marketing there are two principal strategies for advertising and promoting products and services, these are SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click|) The two are quite different but both have much to commend them. When designing a new campaign a marketer has to decide which approach is most appropriate for his or her current project. Both strategies are trying to achieve the same thing, a high-ranking in the search engines. The ideal is to try to make it to the first page of Google and other search engines as many surfers never look beyond that first page. Given that you will often be competing with tens of thousands of other websites (at the very least) the competition is obviously very intense. However, search engine marketing is undoubtedly one of the best ways of generating targeted traffic, so, which to use; – it’s SEO vs PPC?
PPC is, in one sense, more straight-forward, although the initial research to get the best keywords and phrases on which to bid takes time and effort. SEO also requires the same kind of keyword research along with other SEO tactics. With PPC marketing you will only pay when someone clicks on your ad and visits your website or sales page. The ‘trick’ with PPC is to find keywords which do not have a high bidding price but do get plenty of interest. That way you can maximise traffic without paying through the nose.
SEO is a more complex operation. A well optimised website will rank well but requires subtle balancing of a variety of factors. One of the biggest benefits of SEO marketing is you don’t have to pay for any clicks. It relies on the application of best SEO practices to be really effective. The financial investment for this form of promotion is mainly made up front.
So, how can we decide which method is better, SEO or PPC? Both methods can be very effective if correctly applied. Much will depend on your niche, your campaign and your personal preference. To put it very simplistically, with SEO you research your way to the top of the rankings and with PPC you buy your way to the top of the rankings. This isn’t to say that PPC will require a large bankroll to bring in the traffic, because that is not necessarily the case; that’s where the initial thorough research of biddable keywords is important. In setting up a PPC campaign you will always have control over your costs as you can set limits on your daily outgoings.
PPC tends to be the more predictable of the two strategies but the cost of clicks, like everything else these days, is creeping up. It seems to me that the difference between the two forms of advertising has narrowed significantly over the last few years. Both rely very heavily on research of a very similar kind. Keyword research, especially, is at the heart of both.
So then, which are you going to choose? PPC advertising tends to produce much quicker results but will probably cost more. SEO will be slower out of the blocks but will ultimately be just as effective. In the final analysis it is down to personal preference. There is, of course, no reason why you should not apply both approaches within the same campaign. The PPC will give you a quicker start whilst the SEO grows its effectiveness over a period of time. So, will it be SEO or PPC? The choice is yours.