Digital marketing clients often ask whether they should invest their advertising dollars in PPC or SEO. Answering that question requires an understanding of these internet marketing models. You also need to consider the purpose of your website, your competition, and your advertising budget. You may find that either PPC or SEO will be more profitable or both strategies will increase traffic to your site.
PPC is pay-per-click, a type of internet marketing with which advertisers must pay a fee for every click on one of their ads. Basically, advertisers use PPC to purchase visits to their websites. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a marketing strategy by which advertisers focus on increasing traffic to their sites through non-paid (organic) search engine results.
How PPC and SEO Work
Here is an example of the difference between PPC and SEO. Google’s Keyword Planner shows that the average cost per click for the search term “car insurance” is about $60. A small box labeled “Ad” is usually found to the right of PPC ads. This box does not show up with organic results, though. Although organic placements are under the ads, search engine users tend to click on organic search results 94 percent of the time.
Car insurers such as Geico, Farmers, and Progressive could easily get thousands of clicks daily with PPC ads. For example, Geico may generate 100 clicks to its site every day with PPC. This would amount to a daily cost of $6,000 (100 clicks at $60 per click). On the other hand, Allstate ranks at the top of organic searches. So they do not pay anything whenever someone clicks on their placement. In terms of ROI, this is significantly more profitable than paying thousands of dollars per day to attract customers.
SEO is a long-term strategy that many companies do not want to wait for. Not willing to invest in SEO for a few months or years, they hurry towards PPC which may produce results immediately. Still, some business do not want to pay for every click on their ads. They would like to have the top position in organic search results, like Allstate. Their challenge is that their SEO metrics underperform compared to their competition. They need a digital PR strategy and guidance with their on-site SEO and local directory submissions.
If you happen to rank among the top three positions in search results for the major keywords in your field, you may not need to invest heavily in PPC. You probably do not need PPC if you are a reputed leader in a highly specialized industry. This is not the case for most businesses, so PPC can help draw more traffic and sales. PPC can also lead you to the highest performing keywords. This information can help you with planning for SEO down the road.
Crevand SEO, a Boise SEO company, recommends using PPC to generate additional traffic to smaller web site pages but the major site pages should focus on organic SEO strategies. “Reaching your clients where they search most for the top industry terms is critical for online success”, states Dan ODonnell, President of Crevand SEO.
If your profit margin is low, PPC may not be suitable since you will likely spend more money than you make. However, if your PPC is profitable, you could consider adding SEO to your marketing strategy to grow your clientele. PPC and SEO are not “either-or” options. You may benefit from diversifying with both.